View Full Version : Help! A Half Dragon!

2007-04-25, 07:39 PM
Ok, one of my players really wants to play a half dragon. I don't have a problem with it, except that the half dragon is a +3 LA. I have noticed anything over +1 LA tends to put that character way behind in power.

The half dragon gets a huge bonus to strength (+8) and a +2 bonus to con, int, and cha. Lets not forget the +4 natural armor. The breath weapon sucks, so we won't take that into consideration or the natural attacks.

I want to reduce the LA by at least 1. To do this, I thought I would reduce the bonus to strength to a +4 and get rid of the +2 int. I also thought that decreasing the natural armor bonus to only a +2. They still get dark vision but lose the immunity to elemental damage according to their dragon variety. Instead, they get elemental resistance 10-15. Make the breath weapon usable 3/day.

Everyone here has a very good sense of balance. I was hoping that I could get some good input on this. Am I balanced for what I want? Have I done too much or not enough?


2007-04-25, 07:52 PM
Well, it's hard to make any one thing "balanced" in D&D because nothing is balanced in the first place.


I personally find the best way to allow LA races in my game is to allow LA buyback from UA (SRD Link (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/races/reducingLevelAdjustments.htm)), basically, over time it lets you trade LA for xp which balances itself over time due to the (semi) self correcting nature of the xp system.

2007-04-25, 07:56 PM
I looked at the LA buy off. I thought it was a good idea. But the levels to buy off for a +3 are 9, 15, and 18. Because of the level of my games, I was looking for the 6, 9 buy off. That is the reason I wanted to see if my changes were as balanced as possible. More specifically, would my changes reduce the LA by 1?

2007-04-25, 08:00 PM
To be honest, half dragons are very hard to balance. At early levels they'll dominate almost everything, due to hitting so hard and having that nice AC... and then suddenly one hit will slip through their AC and kill them outright, because they have almost no hitpoints. Making a subtable challenge for them that isn't insanely leathal is very hard to do. At the same time, if you lowered their LA at low levels, their domination would be more noticeable... but only at low levels.

Have you considered getting the player to use the Draconic template instead? It's LA +1.


2007-04-25, 08:05 PM
JaronK, first, where can I find the Draconic Template. I have the Dracanomicon and the Monster Manual, thats all for monster books. As far as LA goes, My group will be between 6th and 9th level.

2007-04-25, 08:13 PM
Its in the draconnomican, in the monster section.

2007-04-25, 09:12 PM
Somewhere on the boards, Fax made a proposal I rather liked. Rather than have the character start with LA +3, have him start 3 levels' worth behind in XP. An ECL 4 party, normally with 6,000 XP, would have a level 1 with 0 XP in it. And then go from there. As he advances, he gains XP, and the gap stays at 6,000 XP, growing less severe as time goes by.

2007-04-25, 09:39 PM
The dragonborn race from Races of the Dragon is a very good ECL-less dragon race. While it is restricted to devote follows of bahamut(sp?) there is no reason you could strip the flavor and make it for anyone with dragon blood.

Archpaladin Zousha
2007-04-25, 09:44 PM
Also, what is this person's intended class? If said class is a bard or sorcerer, then the Dragon Disciple prestige class would be perfect. Granted the player would have to wait to get the draconic abilities, everything will (I think) be in balance.

2007-04-25, 10:08 PM
Half dragon is only unbelievable for large creatures with no ECL. Otherwise, it doens't get wings and is balanced since you'll die pretty easy if you ever let anything hit you.

2007-04-25, 10:21 PM
I dont' see how you die really easy if you get hit...you do have class hit dice...so what does everyone mean by that? Second, I think that it is lame that a half dragon doen't get wings unless it is large. Wings are not that great all and all, so I just say that all half dragons get wings.

The players intended class is the dragon shaman. I know that the class is sub par, but I've tweeked it a little to make it better. I give them martial weapon proficiency, a bump to d8s for their breath weapon, and a metabreath feat every 5 levels.

2007-04-25, 10:26 PM
You have three less class hit dice than everyone else. At small levels, that is a ton. At large levels, a +8 to strength is simply not that big a deal.
Wings are that great when you are a half dragon, since you can just fly up in the air and nuke everything with your breath. Only archerscan hurt you, and that's only if ther get through your armour, and bows don't do as much damage or (usually) get strength bonuses. I mean, it's not outright broken (any of the CoreKing Classes could kill it, easy), but it's pretty cheap.

2007-04-25, 10:38 PM
I'm totally in love with the Dragonborn racial trait from Races of the Dragon. If you have this book, try to lean the PC towards this racial trait. There may be a loss of racial abilities, but you can gain wings, a breath weapon that is nicely powered (every 1d4 rounds, and you can choose the energy type) or heightend senses. And there is *NO* LA!!!

2007-04-26, 02:18 AM
Half dragon is only unbelievable for large creatures with no ECL. Otherwise, it doens't get wings and is balanced since you'll die pretty easy if you ever let anything hit you.

As far as I know, there are no LA or racial hit dice. Large size always warrants a level adjustment.

2007-04-26, 06:47 AM
I played a half-dragon/human barbarian/fighter from 7th level through to 13th when the campaign ended. Great fun, and he never felt underpowered. Mind you, I rolled well on his stats (I think he ended up with Str 26, Con 18, Dex 15, Int 16, Wis 14, Cha 12 - without magical items)

Yes his breath weapon sucked (he only used it to clear mobs of weak creatures anyway) and he could have had more hitpoints & better saves if he took class levels instead of the template (which is seen to be a weak +3 anyway), but sometimes it's fun to do something different, and it worked out well for me.

I say let him be the half-dragon he wants to be, rather than a watered down version. It might be weaker mechanically, but let him find that out and deal with it in his own way rather than trying to nanny him into something else.

2007-04-26, 07:09 AM
Make a class of it (I think they tried this in savage species)

A 4 LvL class.

You get HD, Skill points & feats.

As class features you gain your bonuses & other abilities.

D8 hp, 2+int skills.

BaB worse.
Saves as commoner

1: +2 str +1 nat arm Claw Attack Immune to sleep & Paralyse
2: +2 str +1 ~ Bite Attack Low-Light vision
3: +2 str +1 ~ Breath attack 3d8 Darkvision (30Ft)
4: +2 str +1 ~ 6d8 Darkvision (60 Ft)

Also break element-immunity up in 5, 10, 20, Immune.
Add other ability-increases at 2-5.

Balance is not my cup of tea, but you get the basic idea.

Lets see where this gets us right now:

4LvL Fighter Vs 4 LvL Halfdragon

+4 bab Vs +2 BaB (does have +4 from str :s )
3 bonus feats.
d10 hd Vs d8 Hd (with con this evens out)
2 skills Vs 2 skills + int bonus.
Random Racial stuff Vs Prety good racial stuff (Compared to dwarf?)

Thinking about this, you might go for a 5 LvL Class & drop to d6 Hd.

2007-04-26, 09:02 AM
Draconic Template is also in Races of the Dragon

2007-04-26, 09:41 AM
Like I've posted before, I tend to play lower level games with out powergaming, so we use a variant of the level buy off.
-1 for every three character levels.

2007-04-26, 09:48 AM
You could rule that at higher levels, one or more levels of LA is replaced by Dragon monster type hit dice. They're pretty good, better than LA but not as good as many classes.

2007-04-26, 09:50 AM
I think that someone ran the numbers a while ago for a high-level, half-dragon fighter compared to a human fighter.

The half-dragon came out a bit ahead. Over time, the lack of hit points from those three Hit Dice becomes relatively less and less important, and the +4 Natural Armour means that the amount of attacks you can take may actually be higher. So Half-Dragons aren't as bad as you think, unless you're playing at low levels.

- Saph

2007-04-26, 10:00 AM
Level adjusted Half Dragon (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/sp/20030912a).

Dragonborn (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/iw/20060105b&page=1).

Variant Kobolds (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20060420a).

Races of the Dragon also has a Dragon Devotee PrC (like a Dragon Disciple, but only 5 levels, and better), and a Dragon Descended template. And as others have mentioned, the Dragonic template from Draconomicon is out there too.

LA buy off rules (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/races/reducingLevelAdjustments.htm).

Problem solved.

2007-04-26, 01:02 PM
convince him to be a dragon shaman or to become a red dragon disciple

2007-04-26, 01:12 PM
Races of the Dragon also has a Dragon Devotee PrC (like a Dragon Disciple, but only 5 levels, and better)

It also happens to be a fair method to enter Dragon Disciple, for the truly Dragon Devoted.

2007-04-26, 09:47 PM
Is your player taking the half-dragon template for flavor reasons? If so, perhaps you consider showing him the Dragon Bloodlines in Unearthed Arcana. You can see it in the SRD too.

2007-04-26, 11:10 PM
Thanks Everyone. I think the Draconic template is going to be the best option. Though, the Dragonborn look good too.

I beefed up the Dragon Shaman just a bit too, if anyone will comment. I thought that they were underpowered compared to the other varient base classes. I dropped their wings to 11th level, and bumped their breath weapon up to a d10. I figured that since they will only get 10d10 by max level, it wasn't too big a deal. Even if they get maximize breath, that is only 100 damage with a base 20+con mod reflex save. Since they are an alternate fighter, I gave them martial weapon proficiency. I would have rather given them proficiency with the Dragon's favored weapon, but there isn't a list, lol.

What say you?

P.S. I told my player that the Dragon Shaman isn't as potent as some of the other classes. She is in love with silver dragons and she cannot be talked out of it.

2007-04-29, 02:27 PM
I play a half-dragon fighter myself. Lizardfolk half-dragon to be precise. I'm 4 class levels behind most of the party, and techically I only have 5 class levels as 2 of my levels are race-levels in dragon. We've been looking over the characters and despite difference in level I'm still the one with the highest HP, damage output and AC. Also, whenever I level up I'm allowed to take more dragon levels, thus adding a bit to an otherwise horribly underpowered breathweapon

2007-04-29, 05:04 PM
Make a class of it (I think they tried this in savage species)

They already did, it's called "Dragon Disciple"

2007-04-29, 05:17 PM
They already did, it's called "Dragon Disciple"

No, not exactly; Dragon Disciple takes 10 levels instead of 3 because it also gives you d12 hit dice, bonus spells, and wings regardless of your size. It also requires you to start as an arcane caster.

The poster had something more like these (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/sp/20040213a) in mind. A "class" where you are taking LA instead of levels, gradually.

2007-04-29, 05:21 PM
The poster had something more like these (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/sp/20040213a) in mind. A "class" where you are taking LA instead of levels, gradually.

Not the poster I quoted :smallamused:: he actually had a class in mind with BAB, skills, etc.

As for the savage progression, there already is a link somewhere in this topic (I'm too lazy to look it up)

Variable Arcana
2007-04-29, 09:46 PM
If your player is totally in love with the silver dragon concept... you could always let her play a silver dragon wyrming (minus a few HD -- 5 HD +4 LA would work at lvl 9, for example).