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Scales of Glory - True Dragon Base Class [3.5/Pathfinder] PEACH
Image by Jasinai at deviantART
"From the tiny egg the great wyrm grows." - Kobold proverb
Ancient strength. Overwhelming knowledge. Crushing subtlety. Majestic arrogance. Sorcery made flesh. Dragons are creatures that perch on the edge of impossibility and excite the imagination for going beyond all else.
Behold, they are like kings! For their birthright is power and their crown is glory. Observe, they are like men! For in them are the lessons of history and the appetites of utmost greed. Beware, they are like monsters! For they are too much like men to wield the strength of lords and they are too much like lords to obey the laws of men.
Consider, they are like adventurers - for many of them, too, have faced the tranquil life and instead chosen the twins Danger and Glory.
Adventures: There are several reasons for a dragon to take up adventure, but there are still some recognizable patterns. It is a rare and pitiable dragon who lacks ambition, and a strange one indeed who is handed all the might of their ancient kind and can find no personal desires they would pursue. But if there is one motivation that burns in the heart of adventurers and dragons alike, it is wealth. The idea of slaying monsters for reward is pleasing to most dragons, but most adventure for other reasons at the same time. Many is the dragon who adventures to be a hero - to show that they can stand above all others, to see others admit that they deserve to be placed upon a pedestal as a glorious figure of legend. Ultimately, the long lives and longer memories of dragons allow them to dabble in adventuring or to devote themselves to it with equal grace. They dabble, because what is five years to a being who has plans for the next millennium? They devote themselves, because how glorious to forge a legend that could endure even beyond that!
Characteristics: Scales like armor. Claws like swords. The eyes of a sage. Breath like thunder. The tongue of a trickster. All of these are superficial things, a mere construct around the truth that dwells at the center. The heart of every dragon is Power, pure and undiluted. Only the most pitiable can face that truth and choose a boring life, and only the most humble can face that truth without succumbing to at least one form of arrogance. Dragons come in many kinds and more opinions, but the foundation of every dragon is power. They see themselves as rulers, spymasters, champions, saviors, conquerors, or any of a thousand other things... but never powerless. Most dragons tend to extremes in whatever they choose - sometimes even extremes of moderation, contemptuous of all options or uncertain as only a being that knows its power can be.
Background: There are those who were not born dragons, but became dragons... But they are unusual. Across most places, across most times, across most individuals, every dragon was born a dragon and knew it from their birth. But after that beginning, nothing is certain - in some places, dragons are worshiped by small societies as gods, and in others they are hunted to near extinction by faithful knights. Still, not all dragons develop their native powers - some wait for the slow march of ages to bring it to them, or pursue some other fascination, such as magic or martial skill. In the end, most dragons have the power to choose their path based on the future they desire, rather than a future already determined for them - and they do so.
Alignment: As in their tendencies elsewhere, dragons tend to extremes of alignment - all extremes. Few dragons adopt alignments simply because of convenience or circumstance - they are devoted to their choice, even if they choose only the triumph of their own selfishness. In some worlds, particular alignments are passed down by a form of racial memory; in others, by a connection to deities who are exemplars of such things; in others, dragons have as much choice in the matter as humans. Insofar as there is a default, even the most bound dragon is not completely without choice of alignment, for the legacy of Io grants them the freedom to take the path of their soul into their own hands, and all Tiamat's schemes to the contrary have ever been imperfect.
Religion: Dragons often see themselves as closer to divinity than many creatures. Some find that this pushes them away from religion, a few find that it pushes them to align themselves as priests of one divine order or another. Most dragons adopt the view that, being so close to gods, religion may not be for them - their choice is not to follow, but to emulate and be champions of their deity. A dragon who worships Pelor does not do so by religious services, but by action - bringing light to the dark places of the world, slaying undead, and upholding the very things that make the sun-god worthy of divinity. It is no coincidence that many Lawful Good dragons see paladins as kindred spirits.
Races: Dragons hold races unto themselves; like humanoids, they come in many varieties, delineated by the energy they find natural, the physical shapes and colors of their bodies, and in some worlds the birth-alignments of their minds and souls. Like humanoids, they have their offshoots and their mysterious hidden peoples. Ultimately, the difference between Red and Silver is more like the difference between Elf and Human than any other.
Other Classes: As in their other preferences, dragons usually seek out classes with similar philosophical tendencies to them, rather than seeing things in terms of skills (though it often comes to the same ends.) Regardless, most dragons respect ambition and determination. Clerics who are passive, or merely serve their deity will generally meet with disrespect from a dragon unless they can demand that respect with violence; those who act as champions of their cause, and especially paladins, will find even powerful dragons offering them at least a little consideration (even if the consideration a powerful evil dragon offers a paladin may be attempts on her life!) Wizards, sorcerers, and other arcane casters seek out dragons more often than the reverse occurs. Particularly old or knowledge-hungry dragons are usually more interested in the libraries and ancient lore wizards often accumulate than in the wizard who brought it together. Fighters - men and women who seek power by their strength and skill, without any outside help - are often more respected by dragons than they realize.
Role: Dragons excel at turning raw power towards action. Even a subtle dragon is more likely to be a spymaster or a scout who seeks subtle action rather than simply hiding from peril passively. Dragons excel at many of the same things monks do - they must invest feats to truly match the monk in raw combat, but their true potential lies in their ability to explore other paths of power and bring their many abilities together into one whole.
Adaptation: One of the very simplest adaptations to the class which can be made is to alter what class list (or lists) dragons can take their spell-like abilities from - for example, allowing Gold dragons to take their spell-like abilities from the cleric list, or allowing Copper dragons to select from bard spells. Another option, for dragons that are not meant to easily walk among humanoids, is to remove the Change Shape class ability - this will make it much more difficult for dragons to disguise themselves, also making them a little less capable as sneaks and scouts in general. If you want dragons to instead have more incentive to enter humanoid society, consider allowing them to retain some or all of the abilities they normally lose while polymorphed by Change Shape. One of the most important non-mechanical decisions is how age interacts with dragon advancement - I recommend having even a level 1 dragon be older than a wyrmling, and simultaneously allowing dragons to advance their levels independent of age. Ancient dragons are powerful because they have accumulated great experience - they are not somehow exclusively advanced by age itself! Thankfully, such questions are unlikely to actually come up in-game unless intentionally raised. If the question is intentionally raised, I recommend only doing so because you have an interesting way to tie the answer into your personal campaign or setting - otherwise, it's safe to assume that any correlation between age and power (or lack thereof) will only need come up when it is useful to you.
GAME RULE INFORMATION
Dragons have the following game statistics.
Abilities: Dragons can use several abilities effectively, but a high Charisma or Constitution is useful for all dragons, as the DC of their spell-like abilities is determined by Charisma, and that of their breath weapon by Constitution. A dragon who chooses to embrace physical combat will benefit from a higher Strength score as well.
Hit Die: d12
Starting Age: Varies by setting
Starting Gold: As Sorcerer
Class Skills (3.5): Appraise, Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Hide, Intimidate, Knowledge (Arcana), Listen, Move Silently, Profession, Search, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Spot, Survival, Use Magic Device
Class Skills (Pathfinder): Appraise, Bluff, Craft, Diplomacy, Fly, Intimidate, Knowledge (Arcana), Perception, Profession, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Stealth, Survival, Use Magic Device
Skill Ranks Per Level: 4 + Int modifier
If using 3.5, multiply skill points at first level by four.
Level BAB Fort Reflex Will Class Features Natural Armor Breath Weapon 1 +1 +2 +2 +2 Dragon Body, Change Shape 1/day, Natural Armor (D), Energy Resistance (Tier 2) (D), Wings (Glide) (D), Environmental Adaptation (Lesser) (D), Natural Weapons (Bite) (D) +3 2 +2 +3 +3 +3 Fast Movement (D) +3 Breath Weapon (1d10, 20' Cone/40' Line) (D) 3 +3 +3 +3 +3 Change Self 3/day, Spell-Like Ability (Detect Magic at-will) +4 4 +4 +4 +4 +4 Spell-Like Ability (1st-level 3/day or 0th-level at-will) +4 Breath Weapon (2d10, 20' Cone/40' Line) (D) 5 +5 +4 +4 +4 Wings (Flight) (D), Energy Resistance (Tier 3) (D) +4 6 +6 +5 +5 +5 Growth (Large Size) (D), Ability Bonuses (Total: +4 Strength, +2 Constitution) (D), Natural Weapons (Claws) (D) +5 Breath Weapon (3d10, 30' Cone/60' Line) (D) 7 +7 +5 +5 +5 Environmental Adaptation (Greater) (D), Spell-Like Ability (2nd-level 3/day or 1st-level at-will) +5 8 +8 +6 +6 +6 Change Shape (At-will or Both Types) +5 Breath Weapon (4d10, 30' Cone/60' Line) (D) 9 +9 +6 +6 +6 Natural Weapons (Wings) (D) +6 10 +10 +7 +7 +7 Energy Resistance (Tier 4) (D) +6 Breath Weapon (5d10, 40' Cone/80' Line) (D) 11 +11 +7 +7 +7 Spell Resistance, Damage Reduction (5/magic), Spell-Like Ability (3rd-level 3/day or 2nd-level at-will) +6 12 +12 +8 +8 +8 Growth (Huge Size) (D), Ability Bonuses (Total: +6 Strength, +4 Constitution) (D) +7 Breath Weapon (6d10, 40' Cone/80' Line) (D) 13 +13 +8 +8 +8 Natural Weapons (Tail Slap) (D), Change Shape (At-will AND Both Types) +7 14 +14 +9 +9 +9 Spell-Like Ability (4th-level 3/day or 3rd-level at-will) +7 Breath Weapon (7d10, 50' Cone/100' Line) (D) 15 +15 +9 +9 +9 Energy Resistance (Always Tier 4) (D) +8 16 +16 +10 +10 +10 Elemental Aura (1d6/5 feet) +8 Breath Weapon (8d10, 50' Cone/100' Line) (D) 17 +17 +10 +10 +10 Spell-Like Ability (5th-level 3/day or 4th-level at-will) +8 18 +18 +11 +11 +11 Growth (Gargantuan Size) (D), Ability Bonuses (Total: +10 Strength, +8 Constitution) (D), Blindsense +9 Breath Weapon (9d10, 60' Cone/120' Line) (D) 19 +19 +11 +11 +11 Elemental Aura 1d6/10 feet, Damage Reduction (10/magic) +9 20 +20 +12 +12 +12 Spell-Like Ability (6th-level 3/day or 5th-level at-will) +9 Breath Weapon (10d10, 60' Cone/120' Line) (D)
All of the following are class features of the dragon.
Weapon Proficiency: Dragons are proficient with simple weapons, although they will not be able to use most of them unless changed into a humanoid form.
Armor Proficiency: Dragons are not proficient with any armor, and even if they become proficient they will need the armor to be modified to use it in their natural form. They cannot safely act as a gliding or flying mount for another creature if wearing medium or heavy armor, or carrying a medium or heavy load.
True Dragon (Ex): The dragon uses the "True Dragon" base race instead of any other race. This is provided in the following spoiler.
Spoiler: True Dragon Race - The Children of IoTrue Dragons are of the Dragon type.
Ability Score Racial Traits: +2 to any two abilities.
Base Speed: 30 feet.
Languages: Player Character True Dragons begin play speaking Common and Draconic. Non-Player Character True Dragons begin play speaking Draconic. Dragons with high Intelligence scores can choose any non-secret languages for their bonus languages.
Defense Racial Traits
Immunity to Paralysis and Sleep.
Feat and Skill Racial Traits
Non-Humanoid Body Plan: Even if the Dragon is proficient in their use, mundane armor and weapons created to be usable by a Dragon cost four times as much as equivalent items created for a Humanoid. In the case of magical armor and weapons, this multiplication applies only to the cost of the base mundane item. This does not imply that all such items are usable by a dragon; only that those items which it is possible to use at all are also more expensive.
Offense Racial Traits
Senses Racial Traits
Darkvision 60 Feet.
Change Shape (Su): Starting at first level, the dragon must choose Humanoids or Animals. Once made, this choice cannot be changed. The dragon may change into the shape of their chosen type as Alter Self (if Humanoids was chosen) or as Beast Shape I (if Animals was chosen) but does not gain the ability score bonuses from the spells. In either case, the change lasts indefinitely, rather than 1 minute/level.
While using Change Shape, certain class features cease to function or function in an altered way. These abilities are marked with a (D) in the table, and will explain how they change in their full text. For most such abilities, they are simply lost, as they are form-dependent and Change Shape is a polymorph effect. Such abilities are fully and explicitly retained when using any Form of the Dragon spell, should it become relevant.
Change Shape is usable 1/day at 1st level, and 3/day at 3rd level. At 8th level, a dragon may choose to be able to use Change Shape to change into both Humanoids and Animals, or to be able to use the ability at-will, but once made this choice cannot be changed. At 13th level, the dragon may use Change Shape to change into both Humanoids and Animals and use the ability at-will. At no point does Change Shape allow for an increased variety of forms beyond Alter Self and Beast Shape I.
Spoiler: Polymorphing Sidebar - "I'm a dragon who Changed Shape into a cat who got Baleful Polymorphed into a griffon..."What happens when a dragon is subjected to polymorph effects other than Change Shape? As a rule of thumb, the same thing that happens when they use Change Shape - all the abilities that are lost are lost in the same way, and all the abilities that are changed change in the same way. Change Shape is just one particular polymorph effect, like any other! Here are some cases where the answer may not be clear, however:
What if I Change Shape and then get hit with another Polymorph effect? Or the other way around?
Answer: Whichever form you are currently using is the form you are currently using, and any 'layering' is irrelevant. Notably, while under the effects of most polymorph subschool effects, you can only be affected by a new polymorph subschool effect if you permit it to function. Change Shape has this rule too, since that's part of the spells it mimics... so you generally won't get layered polymorphing unless you actually try to.
What if I get polymorphed into something that has a bite attack? Can I keep my bite? How about wings? Breath weapon?
Answer: If the form you turn into has a bite attack, you get the better of the form's bite attack and yours - although yours will still scale from the size of the new form instead of your base form. You probably don't get increased reach with it as you would in base form, but you do get to do damage as if one size category larger. The same applies to flight speeds, swim speeds, burrow speeds, and all the other abilities as long as the new form had that ability to start with - something with a bite uses the better bite, something with no bite still doesn't have a bite! In the case of a breath weapon, you retain the full area of your breath weapon, and can choose to use either that OR the breath weapon of the form! Cooldown times aren't completely explicit, but I recommend that you use the cooldown time of the breath weapon you actually use, that per-day breath weapons be considered to have a zero round cooldown, and that you can't use either breath weapon until the cooldown time is done. In the case of energy immunities, resistances, and vulnerabilities, take the best in each case for each type of attack, immunities overwrite vulnerabilities, and resistances and vulnerabilities just apply at the same time, resistances first. Note that you keep some of your resistance and vulnerability even when polymorphed into a form that doesn't have it.
So, if I get polymorphed into a dragon...?
Answer: You keep anything the polymorph effect can replicate at the better level, and you probably keep everything. I would say that you even keep abilities the spell wouldn't normally handle on its own, but technically you can only keep abilities the new form would properly have... Which is often 'everything' anyway.
Natural Armor (D) (Ex): Starting at first level, a dragon gains a +3 natural armor bonus. At 3rd level, and every 3 levels thereafter, this bonus increases by 1, to +4 at 3rd level, +5 at 6th level, and so on. This armor bonus is normally lost while using Change Shape.
Energy Resistance (D) (Ex): Starting at first level, a dragon gains resistance to one sort of energy, and vulnerability to another. For most dragons, resistance to fire means weakness to cold, resistance to cold means weakness to fire, resistance to acid means weakness to electricity, and resistance to electricity means weakness to acid. These resistances and weaknesses are split up into four tiers, shown in the table below. A dragon uses a tier one lower than what they otherwise would while using Change Shape. This is an exception to how abilities are normally completely lost.
At 1st level, a dragon uses the second tier of resistance. At 5th level, a dragon uses the third tier of resistance. At 10th level, a dragon uses the fourth tier of resistance. At 15th level, a dragon uses the fourth tier of resistance even while using Change Shape.
Tier Resistance Weakness 1 5 0% 2 10 10% (+1 damage per 10 damage) 3 25 25% (+1 damage per 4 damage) 4 Immunity 50% (+1 damage per 2 damage)
Wings (D) (Ex): At 1st level, a dragon cannot yet fly freely, but they have some ability to maneuver through the air. They recieve a +8 racial bonus on Acrobatics checks to jump, and can glide with a speed equal to their land speed. They automatically lose 5 feet of altitude for every 20 feet of horizontal movement as they do. No matter how little the dragon moves, they will lose at least 5 feet of altitude each round while gliding. At 5th level, a dragon gains a flight speed equal to 10 feet per class level, with Average maneuverability. They cannot safely act as a gliding or flying mount for another creature if wearing medium or heavy armor, or carrying a medium or heavy load. This ability is normally lost while using Change Shape.
Environmental Adaptation (D) (Ex): At 1st level, a dragon must choose one of four general environments from the table below to be native to; this choice cannot be changed later. They gain the lesser abilities associated with their environment at 1st level, and the greater abilities associated with it at 7th level. Other environments can be created by the DM if needed. Most of these abilities are normally lost while using Change Shape - those that still function explicitly say so.
Environment Lesser Abilities Greater Abilities Water/Swamp Hold Breath (1 minute per point of Constitution, even while using Change shape), Swim Speed (equal to land speed), Swim is a class skill Amphibious Breathing, Swim Speed (equal to twice land speed) Sky/Mountain Cloud Vision (Choose either fog or smoke: ignore concealment of the chosen type, even while using Change Shape), Improved Gliding (equal to twice land speed - 5 feet down for every 40 feet horizontal), Acrobatics is a class skill +30 to flight speed, Flight becomes Perfect Maneuverability (granting +8 to Fly checks) Forest Camouflage (+4 stealth in wooded areas, +8 with 10 ranks in stealth), Woodland Stride (ignore difficult terrain from plants while using land speed, but still unable to Run, even while using Change Shape) Scent 60, Woodland Stride (ignore difficult terrain from plants while using flight speed, but still unable to Run) Desert/Underground Camouflage (Choose desert or underground; +4 stealth in areas of the chosen type, or +8 with 10 ranks in stealth), Burrow Speed (equal to half land speed), Tremorsense 10 (even while using Change Shape) Tremorsense 30, Burrow Speed (equal to land speed)
Natural Weapons (D) (Ex): A dragon has natural weapons, which improve based on their size. They gain more natural weapons as they advance in level. A dragon's Bite and Claw natural attacks deal damage as if one size category larger. A dragon uses the Long size templates for reach, but their Bite attack also has reach as if one size category larger. These improvements apply only to Bite and Claw attacks gained through this ability. At 1st level, a dragon has a Bite attack. At 6th level, they gain two Claw attacks. At 9th level, they gain two Wing attacks. At 13th level, they gain a Tail Slap attack. None of these attacks are normally available while using Change Shape.
Fast Movement (D) (Ex): At 2nd level, a dragon's land speed increases by 10 feet. This benefit applies only when they are wearing no armor, light armor, or medium armor, and not carrying a heavy load. Apply this bonus before modifying the dragon's speed because of any load carried or armor worn. This bonus stacks with any other bonuses to the dragon's land speed. This bonus does not apply while using Change Shape.
Breath Weapon (D) (Su): A dragon can use a breath weapon which deals the same type of damage as the type of damage they are resistant to. Once used, the breath weapon cannot be used again for 1d4 rounds. The weapon deals 1d10 points of damage for every 2 class levels, and increases its area as shown on the table, except when using Change Shape. It can be either a Cone or a Line; the shape is chosen when this ability is gained, and cannot be changed thereafter. Those subject to the breath weapon can make a Reflex save at DC (10+1/2 dragon's total hit dice+dragon's Con modifier) to take half damage. While using Change Shape, the breath weapon deals its full damage, but is normally Cone 20 or Line 40 rather than using the full area. This is an exception to how abilities are normally completely lost.
Spell-Like Abilities (Sp): A dragon chooses a number of spell-like abilities as they gain levels. The caster level for all of these spell-like abilities is equal to their total hit dice. All of these spells must be taken from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list. With DM permission, a dragon may choose another spell list to draw spell-like abilities from; in this case, all of these spells must be drawn from that alternative list. The dragon still gains Detect Magic at 3rd level regardless. Once the choice of a spell-like ability is made, it cannot be changed except that if a 3/day spell is chosen, it can be replaced with a different spell of the same level useable 3/day if the original spell is chosen as an at-will spell later. The save DCs for all of these spells use Charisma as the spellcasting ability score. Unlike normal spell-like abilities, the dragon must still provide any material components or focus components costing more than 1 gp.
At 3rd level, they gain the ability to use Detect Magic at-will.
At 4th level, they gain the ability to use a 1st level spell 3/day, or a 0th-level spell at-will.
At 7th level, they gain the ability to use a 2nd level spell 3/day, or a 1st-level spell at-will.
At 11th level, they gain the ability to use a 3rd level spell 3/day, or a 2nd level spell at-will.
At 14th level, they gain the ability to use a 4th level spell 3/day, or a 3rd level spell at-will.
At 17th level, they gain the ability to use a 5th level spell 3/day, or a 4th level spell at-will.
At 20th level, they gain the ability to use a 6th level spell 3/day, or a 5th level spell at-will.
Growth (D) (Ex): Every six levels, a dragon permanently increases their size category. They do not receive any ability score changes due to this, but receive all other benefits of their increased size (and see Ability Bonuses, below.) At 6th level, the dragon becomes Large. At 12th level, they become Huge. At 18th level, they become Gargantuan. This ability does not change their size while using Change Shape (or any other polymorph effect, for that matter.)
Ability Bonuses (D) (Ex): Whenever a dragon grows larger, they also gain appropriate ability score bonuses, as noted on the table above. These bonuses do not apply while using Change Shape, and they are Size bonuses and so will not stack with the bonuses from some other polymorph effects. As noted by the Growth ability, a dragon does not gain any other ability score changes from their increased size.
Spell Resistance (Ex): At 11th level, a dragon gains spell resistance equal to 10+class level.
Damage Reduction (Ex): At 11th level, a dragon gains DR 5/magic. At 19th level, this increases to DR 10/magic.
Elemental Aura (Su): At 16th level, a dragon is surrounded by an aura of elemental power, which deals 1d6 damage of the same type as their resistance and breath weapon to every creature within 5 feet. At 19th level, this ability affects every creature within 10 feet. A dragon can turn this ability on or off as a free action, in case they wish to not incinerate everything near them, or it is somehow disrupted.
Blindsense (Su): At 18th level, a dragon gains Blindsense out to 60 feet. This ability applies even when using Change Shape.
So... Now that you have seen the class...
Feed me your comments! I want to improve this thing and make it the best way to play a dragon out there! In fact, the class should be pretty good at making new dragons for your players to fight, too!
Should I cut out some class skills? Which ones? Should I add any? Should there be an urban/wilderness/isolated choice giving different skill lists?
Should I reduce the hit die? Why?
Should I remove the immunity to paralysis and sleep spells? Why are dragons even immune to those?
Should I remove the energy vulnerability? Why?
Should I just make the class a half-caster like the Bard instead of the Spell-like abilities they currently have?
How strong would you say this is? How flexible for representing different dragons? How flexible on a day-to-day level? I aimed for middle Tier 3 to very low Tier 2 using JaronK's system - did I succeed?
Where are the empty levels? Where are the over-stuffed levels? Do you have any ideas for how to spread abilities in a more even and pleasant fashion?
What feats would it be useful to add to support the class?
- Join Date
- Oct 2010
- A supermassive black hole
Re: Scales of Glory - True Dragon Base Class [3.5/Pathfinder] PEACH
Just a couple of nitpicks here:
With Environmental Adaptation, you don't have an option for tundra, plains, or hills. Jungles might also be considered different enough from regular forests to have its own option in the list (it does in monster terrains, at least) (monster terrains also include urban areas, dungeons, ruins, extraplanar, and as of the Bestiary 4 we now have space dragons). I would suggest making a feat expanding on this class ability, but with each environment having its own associated ability/bonus, rather than being grouped together.
Your ability increases only do physical abilities--Intelligence and Charisma, at least, are strongly associated with dragons (particularly the magical dragons of roleplaying). I would suggest some variant class abilities to either change what ability scores are increased, or to sacrifice a different class ability to raise more ability scores.
A lot of true dragons have different breath abilities than just the four main elements. Some do physical damage, some sonic, some force, and a good number have special effects in addition to damage (metallic dragons most notably). I think you could address this with feats, with different effects (or special damage like sonic or force) having slightly longer recharge times.
You also don't have much provided in the way of special abilities unique to certain dragon types. I think this could also be addressed with feats (as could frightful presence, which wasn't included in the class). You might also make them optional replacements for a spell-like ability of equivalent level.
You might also do well to provide variant class abilities to do things such as:
Eventually reach colossal size
Get 6th-level proper spell progression (possibly also get more spell-like abilities, can choose up to choosing 7th-9th level spells as spell-like abilities rather than obtaining as spells? Might involve a feat chain)
Enable spell choice from another class's spell (gold dragons, at least, can learn from the cleric list and although I can't remember them I believe a number of others can choose from different lists). You could also make this a short feat chain.
Obtain the natural attacks of gore, tail sweep, and crush
Use weapons. Dragon claws are actually capable of fine manipulation, and while I'm not certain about pathfinder I know that it was possible for a 3.5 dragon to wield weapons.
https://sites.google.com/site/pathfinderogc/bestiary/monster-listings/dragons]List of Pathfinder dragons, should you need a convenient list of all true dragon abilities. I might also suggest looking through the list of universal monster rules to find abilities that you think someone might want on a dragon, that doesn't already exist. I do like that you aren't making progressions specific to certain types of dragons... it allows for a refreshing freedom.
I'm afraid I can't help you much on balance... I have a terrible eye for it, although I do think that having the best HD, BAB, and saves might be a bit much, what with all their other class abilities. I'm not a great judge for this, though.
- Join Date
- Oct 2010
Re: Scales of Glory - True Dragon Base Class [3.5/Pathfinder] PEACH
Tundra/Plains/Hills is definitely an appropriate addition. I would argue that the three are roughly the same ability set, with Tundra being specifically Cold-aligned dragons. Possibly some sort of increased perception distance - not very useful in a forest, where cover will apply before maximum distance, but very powerful in open plains. Might also be useful for Desert dragons - it fits Blues well, at least.
I've considered having Urban/Wilderness as a split in class skills - Urban dragons would pick up a couple extra knowledges, and probably Disguise, while Wilderness dragons would have Survival and a couple other skills. It didn't seem significant enough to be worth having yet another selection table, though.
Frightful Presence was actually intentionally dropped - I used to have it, but it's just so powerful for a player to have at anything like a dragon's levels. Heck, even a NORMAL frightful presence is extremely strong. I don't agree that it should come back, either.
... Actually, a feat to boost your size by a category - letting them come in early, and letting you reach Colossal - wouldn't be out of place. It would need some significant pre-requisites, though.
I don't see a huge problem with it - using a weapon isn't ever going to be significantly better than using natural attacks except for piercing material-based DRs - which is a worthy reason to have it.
Besides, they're not proficient with anything above Simple anyway.
To-do list from your ideas:
1) Plains/Hills/Tundra/Desert (Hunter) Environmental Adaptation, making the original Desert/Underground into Desert (Burrower)/Underground. Jungle Environmental Adaptation - I'll do some research, but I'm almost certain I can just handle this with the pre-existing Forest Adaptation. You are 100% correct that that option needs to be called out explicitly though.
2) Urban Environmental Adaptation? Could be useful for, say, Eberron.
3) Alternate Energy type feats, Alternate Breath Weapon feats.
4) Change the SLA progression into a 'special ability' progression, with SLAs being just one of the options? Maybe...
Some feat or special ability to have a player-usable Frightful Presence. ... That one's going to take some research to figure out how to make that be cool without being overpowered in a player's hands. The special abilities in general might also be what halfcasting would replace.
5) Size-boosting feat. This...should probably require a certain number of [Draconic] feats, rather than a specific set of pre-reqs. Which means by extension that I probably want a generic [Draconic] feat that can be taken repeatedly - sounds like a great place to put ability score bonuses? (DnD Next already does this, roughly. The feats are stronger and rarer, there... but on the other hand, ability scores are stronger too.)
6) Change references to being unable to wield weapons to instead let them wield weapons. By extension, fear the oncoming Colossal dragons wielding enchanted Heavy Crossbows the size of a siege weapon. (It's a good thing that sounds completely awesome, or I might have to worry about this change. )
7) Investigate normal player-available forms of flight. Investigate flight speeds of various monsters. Drop dragon tactical flight speeds to match - possibly allow a faster out-of-combat/overland flight speed, something that 3.5 used for true dragons.
8) Make it clearer that it should be possible for a DM to allow alternate spell lists for a dragon.
... Wow, that's a lot! Thank you!