So many people look up to dragons as a souce of primeval power; and with good reason. Few creatures in this world can challenge even a juvenile dragon. But so often you see spells or rituals designed to emulate them, and what do they focus on? It almost always comes down to two central concepts: that they have wings, and that they breathe fire - or ice, or acid, or what-have-you. But I know the truth. The power of the dragons doesn't lie in these crude displays of tactical and elemental superiority. It comes from within; a unique spark defines the nature of dragons - and if I can say so, defines the nature of us champions as well.
- Tyrolus, a particularly arrogant dragonsoul champion
Dragonsoul champions, like many sorcerers and various monsters of the world, have a small flame of draconic nature within them. Unlike dragon shamans or other dragon-themed classes, however, in the case of these champions this nature manifests more discreetly. Rather than having flashy powers, great scaly wings, or breath weapons, and rather than focusing solely on taking after a specific patron dragon, the dragonsoul champion's powers represent dragonkind as a whole. They focus on internal strength and natural arcane talent in the context of balance and versatility.
Adventures: Dragonsoul champions can adventure for all the same reasons any other character might - fame, fortune, or just to test their might. However, like all dragons, they are easily motivated by treasure - whether functional, like powerful magic items, or decorative, such as an array of glittering gems - and by the opportunity to improve in their own ability. Many champions may even desire to meet and perhaps apprentice under a true dragon, though many dragons possess an extremist viewpoint on the world, in one way or another - at least compared to the champion's inherent view of balance.
Characteristics: A dragonsoul champion can serve as a variety of different roles in an adventuring group, though with their low skill points they do not make good skillmonkeys. They are equally capable of serving as front-line combatants, blaster-caster, arcane support, or navigating around a treacherous situation to find a solution from behind enemy lines.
Alignment: Some aspect of neutrality is required for the dragonsoul champion, though besides this element, alignment can vary wildly. Chaotic, evil, good, and lawful dragonsoul champions all exist, though typically they are not extreme even in these viewpoints. A dragonsoul champion sees himself as innately tied to all of dragonkind, which includes the most barbaric and gruesome of chaotic evil and the most noble of lawful good creatures. He sees many of the world's troubles as existing solely because of the struggle between people of varying worldviews, and aims to bring harmony - either peacefully or by destroying those whose strong moral standing might upset the balance of the world.
Religion: Naturally, dragonsoul champions are inclined to follow dragon gods, but are equally likely to worship no gods at all. They argue that though the gods may 'run the show', they are victim to many of the same petty rivalries and unnecessary bloodshed as mortals, and they seek to transcend these issues by focusing on the power of oneself.
Background: People of all walks of life and origin may become dragonsoul champions - a particularly frail elf might seek to improve their strength while coupled with arcane might, just as a brutal orc might seek to grow more resilient in his defenses and broaden his scope of ability. The main unifying theme, though, is that they have at least one drop of dragon blood in their lineage, and that they have struggled in some way, either personally or as part of a subjugated nation or people. These characters most often rise to the calling of their draconic heritage to become champions, advancing their inner strength to protect or advance some cause they hold dear.
Races: Humans are the most common dragonsoul champions, though not by much. This owes largely to their propensity for cross-breeding; simply put, more humans have mixed with dragons than most other races. Besides this statistical outlier, roughly all races are equally represented in the (relatively small) numbers of champions. There are far fewer dragonsoul champions than there are fighters, wizards, and bards, but they certainly make an impact wherever they go.
Other Classes: Dragonsoul champions related to individuals of almost any class positively: They can relate easily to the strength and weapon technique of the warrior, they can share passionately in the understanding and use of magic might, and can respect equally the single-minded self-improvement of the monk and the lifelong quest to master many skills found among the rogue and factotum. They have trouble finding common ground among paladins, whose strong alignments leave a sour taste in their mouths. Still, good and lawful champions tend to be relatively agreeable, and even chaotic or evil champions can find reason enough to get along with others.
Role: See characteristics, above.
Adaptation: Though dragons are typically prevalent in most settings, the class could be slightly adapted to be based on denizens of the Outer Planes. Fiends, for instance, might produce the Fiendish Champion, of any alignment that includes evil as a component, and perhaps with some substitutions in class abilities. Generally, any setting in which dragons are powerful creatures, whether common or exceedingly rare, can make use of this class.
GAME RULE INFORMATION
Dragonsoul champions have the following game statistics.
Abilities: Unfortunately, if looking to take full advantage of the all class features, the dragonsoul champion does suffer from some multiple-attribute-dependency. However, one can choose to optimize one or more elements of the class to reduce this issue. As a melee combatant, Strength is, of course, most important, followed by Dexterity and Constitution. If focusing on ranged combat, Dexterity jumps to the top of the list; it is recommended to put a good score into Charisma in this case as well, for spellcasting support. Intelligence is less important than these four abilities, though with only 2+Int skill points at each level, it would probably be best to at least not have a penalty. Wisdom would be the least important ability score, with a good Will save and no class abilities being Wisdom-dependent.
Alignment: Any neutral.
Hit Die: d8
Starting Age: As monk.
Starting Gold: 4d4x10gp
The Dragonsoul Champion's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana, history, local, nature, nobility) (Int), Listen (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (n/a), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis)
Skill Points at First Level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort
1st +1 +0 +0 +2 Dragon blood, unarmed strike, spellcasting 1d4 +0/+0 - 2nd +2 +0 +0 +3 Overland movement 1d4 +0/+0 Con +2 3rd +3 +1 +1 +3 Draconic resistance (energy 5), powerful build 1d4 +0/+0 Int +1 4th +4 +1 +1 +4 Keen senses (darkvision 60ft, low-light vision, scent) 1d4 +0/+0 - 5th +5 +1 +1 +4 Bonus feat, draconic resistance (mundane disease), spell swap 1d6 +10/+10 Con +1, Wis +1 6th +6/+1 +2 +2 +5 Draconic resistance (paralysis and sleep), specialized adaptation 1d6 +10/+10 Str +2 7th +7/+2 +2 +2 +5 Draconic resistance (energy 10) 1d6 +10/+10 Cha +1 8th +8/+3 +2 +2 +6 Spell swap 1d6 +10/+20 Con +1 9th +9/+4 +3 +3 +6 Draconic resistance (all disease), keen senses (sensory range doubles) 1d8 +10/+20 Int +1 10th +10/+5 +3 +3 +7 DR 5/magic, specialized adaptation, spell resistance 1d8 +10/+20 - 11th +11/+6/+1 +3 +3 +7 Draconic resistance (energy 15), frightful presence, spell swap 1d8 +20/+30 Con +1, Wis +1 12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +4 +8 Bonus feat, crush 1d8 +20/+30 Str +2 13th +13/+8/+3 +4 +4 +8 DR 10/magic, draconic resistance (poison) 1d10 +20/+30 Cha +1 14th +14/+9/+4 +4 +4 +9 Keen senses (blindsense 30ft), specialized adaptation 1d10 +20/+40 Con +1 15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +5 +9 Draconic aging, draconic prestige, draconic resistance (energy 20) 1d10 +20/+40 Int +1 16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +10 DR 15/magic 1d10 +20/+40 - 17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Keen senses (blindsense 60ft) 2d6 +30/+50 Con +1, Wis +1 18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Draconic resistance (planar traits), specialized adaptation 2d6 +30/+50 Str +2 19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11 DR 20/magic, draconic resistance (energy 25) 2d6 +30/+50 Cha +1 20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Draconic ascension 2d6 +30/+60 Con +1
All of the following are class features of the dragonsoul champion.
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A dragonsoul champion is proficient with all simple weapons, with oen martial weapon of his choice, with light and medium armor, and with shields (but not tower shields). Because a dragonsoul champion's spellcasting ability comes more from the pure strength of their draconic heritage, and less from complex and precise maneuvers or knowledge of detailed arcane workings, a dragonsoul champion can cast spells gained by this class while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. However, like any other arcane spellcaster, a dragonsoul champion wearing medium or heavy armor or using a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass dragonsoul chmampion still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.
Dragon Blood (Ex): Upon taking his first level in this class, a dragonsoul champion gains the dragonblood subtype if they did not already possess it or the dragon type. Additionally, he can qualify for draconic feats as though he had sorcerer levels equal to his dragonsoul champion level.
Unarmed Strike (Ex): At 1st level, a dragonsoul champion gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. In addition, his unarmed strikes deal more damage than normal for his size, as indicated on the table above. (Small or Large dragonsoul champions deal more or less damage with unarmed strikes - the Smal progression starts at 1d3, then progresses as listed, to a maximum of 1d10; Large strikes start at 1d6 and progress to a maximum of 2d8.) As unarmed strikes are neither natural nor manufactured weapons, he is considered automatically proficient with them.
Spells: A dragonsoul champion casts arcane spells (the same type available to bards, sorcerers, and wizards), which are drawn from the dragonsoul champion spell list. (see below). He can cast any spell he knows without preparing it ahead of time, the way a wizard or cleric must. To learn or cast a spell, a dragonsoul champion must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level (Cha 10 for 0-level spells, Cha 11 for 1st-level spells, and so forth). The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a dragonsoul champion's spell is 10 + the spell level + the champion's Charisma modifier. Like other spellcasters, a dragonsoul champion can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is as follows. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Charisma score.
Upon reaching 5th level, and at every third level after that (8th, 11th, and so on), a dragonsoul champion can choose to learn a new spell in place of one he already knows. In effect, the champion "loses" the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell's level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged, and it must be at least two levels lower than the highest-level dragonsoul champion spell the character can cast.
SpoilerSpells known/spells per day, by spell level
Level 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 1st 4/2 - - - - - - 2nd 5/3 2/0 - - - - - 3rd 6/3 3/1 - - - - - 4th 6/3 3/2 2/0 - - - - 5th 6/3 4/3 3/1 - - - - 6th 6/3 4/3 3/2 - - - - 7th 6/3 4/3 4/2 2/0 - - - 8th 6/3 4/3 4/3 3/1 - - - 9th 6/3 4/3 4/3 3/2 - - - 10th 6/3 4/3 4/3 4/2 2/0 - - 11th 6/3 4/3 4/3 4/3 3/1 - - 12th 6/3 4/3 4/3 4/3 3/2 - - 13th 6/3 4/3 4/3 4/3 4/2 2/0 - 14th 6/4 4/3 4/3 4/3 4/3 3/1 - 15th 6/4 4/4 4/3 4/3 4/3 3/2 - 16th 6/4 5/4 4/4 4/3 4/3 4/2 2/0 17th 6/4 5/4 5/4 4/4 4/3 4/3 3/1 18th 6/4 5/4 5/4 5/4 4/4 4/3 3/2 19th 6/4 5/4 5/4 5/4 5/4 4/4 4/3 20th 6/4 5/4 5/4 5/4 5/4 5/4 4/4Spoiler
The Dragonsoul Champion spell list is identical to the sorcerer spell list, with the following modifications (any additions at a lower level than it appears on the sorcerer list removes it from the original spell level):
0 - add magic fang
1st - add calm emotions, command, make whole, and resist energy
2nd - add clarity of mind, enthrall, fly, glibness, and greater magic fang
3rd - add enduring flight, glyph of warding, stoneskin, and voice of the dragon
4th - add delay death, dismissal, and spell immunity
5th - add greater command, mass sanctuary, mass suggestion, true seeing, and valiant fury
6th - add banishment, dragon ally, forbiddance, limited wish, and word of balance
Draconic Enhancement (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, the dragonsoul champion's body and mind regularly begin to improve as they take on the qualities of a true dragon. His ability scores improve at each level, as shown on the table above. These improvements are added to the base ability score, in the same way an ability score improves at every fourth character level.
Overland Movement (Ex): Like true dragons, the dragonsoul champion is by nature a traveller, and so acclimated to the strain of continuous movement. If he attempts a hustle or forced march, check for nonlethal damage once every 2 hours instead of each hour (see page 164 of the Player's Handbook).
Draconic Resistance (Ex): All dragons possess resistances which allow them to survive, even thrive, in their native environments, which can often be quite hostile. A dragonsoul champion does not take after any particular dragon variety, instead gaining a multitude of resistances against a variety of environmental hazards.
At 3rd level, the dragonsoul champion gains resistance to acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic 5. At 7th level, and every fourth level thereafter, this resistance improves by 5, to a maximum of resistance 25 at level 19.
Beginning at 6th level, the dragon soul champion adds 1/2 his class level as a resistance bonus on saves vs. paralysis and magical sleep effects.
At 5th level, he gains immunity to mundane diseases. At 9th level, this immunity covers magical and supernatural diseases as well, and at 13th level, he is also immune to poisons.
At 18th level, the champion is immune to all harmful planar traits, such as those present on the Negative Energy Plane or Elemental Plane of Fire. This ability does not protect him from weather effects, denizense of the plane, or any other danger not presented by the nature of the plane itself.
Powerful Build (Ex): From 3rd level onward, a dragonsoul champion is considered to be one size category larger than he actually is for many functions. Whenever the champion is subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), he is considered to be one size larger if doing so is advantageous to him. He is also considered to be one size larger when determinig whether a creature's special attacks based on size (such as improved grab or swallow whole) can affect him. He can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty. However, his space and reach remain those of a creature of his actual size. The benefits of this class feature stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject's size category.
Keen Senses (Ex): At 4th level, a dragonsoul champion gains darkvision out to 60ft, low-light vision, and scent. At 9th level, the range of all sensory abilities doubles (including all forms of vision, as well as hearing and scent). At 14th level, the champion's nonvisual sensesfurther improve, granting him blindsense to a radius of 30ft. At 17th level, the range of the champion's blindsense increases to 60ft.
Bonus Feats: At 5th and 12th levels, the dragonsoul champion may select a bonus feat. He need not meet the listed prerequisites for this feat, but it must be from among the following: Alertness, Blind-Fight, Cleave, Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Power Attack, Ride-By Attack, Shot on the Run, Spring Attack, Snatch, Weapon focus. Alternately, he may select any metamagic feat (except Rapid Spell and Quicken Spell), but must meet the prerequisites for those feats as normal.
Speed Bonus (Ex): At 5th level, and every six levels thereafter (11th, 17th) the champion's base land speed increases by 10ft. At the champion's discretion, he may elect to receive a bonus to his fly speed instead. In this case, his maneuverability category decreases by one step (to a minimum of clumsy), but the speed bonus accumulates at 5th level and every third level after (rather than every six). In either case, this bonus only applies while the dragonsoul champion is wearing medium or lighter armor, or is unarmored.
Specialized Adaptation (Ex): At 6th level, and again at 10th, 14th, and 18th level, the dragonsoul champion may select one of the following basic adaptations. This selection, once made, cannot be changed, and a given adaptation cannot be selected multiple times. When he would gain another basic adaptation, his existing basic adaptation improves, as described under the Advanced header for each adaptation. His final selection (at 18th level) advances upon his ascension (at 20th level).
Adaptation of the Cave Dragon: Gain a burrow speed, equal to 1/2 your base land speed. If your base speed improves, so does this burrow speed, such that it is always equal to 1/2 your base land speed (rounded down). Advanced: Gain tremorsense to a range of 100ft.
Adaptation of the Mountain Dragon: Gain a climb speed equal to your base land speed. Advanced: Gain slow fall, as the ability of a monk whose level equals your dragonsoul champion level.
Adaptation of the Sage Dragon: Gain a resistance bonus equal to 1/2 your class level on saves vs. mind-affecting effects. Advanced: You are immune to mind-affecting effects of all kinds.
Adaptation of the Nimble Dragon: You may ignore any and all movement penalties based on terrain or the environment, such as ice, rubble, undergrowth, or the effects of a grease or entangle spell. Advanced: 1/day, as a swift action, you may gain use of a Freedom of Movement spell as an extraordinary ability, as though cast by a sorcerer of your dragonsoul champion level. As a constant effect, you gain a bonus on all rolls made to resist effects which freedom of movement protects against, equal to 1/2 your class levels.
Adaptation of the Water Dragon: Gain a swim speed equal to your base land speed, and the Hold Breath (Ex) special quality - you can hold your breath for a number of rounds equal to 6 x your Constitution modifier before you risks drowning. Advanced: You gain the water breathing and amphibious special qualities.
Adaptation of the Massive Dragon: Your weight increases by 50%; you gain a +4 bonus on rolls to prevent being forcefully moved from your position, as when being bull rushed; additionally, whenever affected by a wind effect, you treat it as though it were one wind speed category lower than it truly is. Advanced: Treat wind effects as three categories lower, and your bonus on forceful-move effects increases to +10.
Adaptation of the Brilliant Dragon: If you suffered from light blindness or similar light-based penalties due to your race, such penalties are removed. In addition, any spells or effects that use light to produce blinding or dazzling effects do not work on you. Finally, you are immune to the harmful effects of sun exposure, including dehydration and heat stroke. Advanced: You are also immune to the effects of all illusions of the pattern subschool, and take half damage from damage-dealing evocation [light] spells. If you are or become undead, you are not treated as such for resolving light-based effects that affect undead creatures differently.
Damage Reduction (Ex): At 10th level, the dragonsoul champion gains the ability of dragons to shrug off lesser attacks. He gains DR 5/magic. At 13th level, and again at 16th and 19th levels, this damage reduction improves by 5.
Spell Resistance (Ex): Also at 10th level, the champion begins to realize his ability to ward of the magical powers of those weaker than himself. He gains spell resistance equal to 10 + his character level.
Frightful Presence (Ex):A dragonsoul champion of at least 11th level can unsettle foes with his mere presence. This ability takes effect automatically whenever the champion attacks, charges, or flies overhead (if applicable). Additionally, the champion can take a standard action to activate this ability at any time. Creatures within a radius of 15ft per class level are subject to the effect if they have fewer HD than the dragonsoul champion. A potentially affected creature that succeeds on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 class levels + Charisma modifer) remains immune to this dragonsoul champion's specific frightful presence for 24 hours. On a failure, creatures with 4HD or fewer become panicked for 4d6 rounds and those with 5 or more HD become shaken for 4d6 rounds. True dragons, and other dragonsoul champions of equal or higher level, ignore the frightful presence of the dragonsoul champion.
Crush (Ex): At 12th level, the dragonsoul champion learns to put this extra heft behind him, and can make a Crush attack (see the dragon entry in Monster Manual) that deals damage equal to his unarmed strike damage, plus 1-1/2 his Strength modifier (save DC 10 + 1/2 dragonsoul champion level + Constitution modifier). He can affect any creature up to his size with this ability, or any number of smaller creatures that fit in his space.
Draconic Aging (Ex): At 15th level, the dragonsoul champion's body becomes more thoroughly suffused with draconic essence. Henceforth, he ignores the normal aging rules for his race, instead taking on the aging qualities of the true dragons. His maximum lifespan increases by 1000 years. His starting dragon age category is determined by his current age category: an ordinary adult becomes a Young Adult; middle-aged individuals become Adult, old characters become Mature Adults, and venerable dragonsoul champions are considered as Old dragons for aging purposes. The champion advances age category when his total age (in years) meets the minimum value for the next age category, as given on the table under the dragon entry in the Monster Manual. He no longer accumulates penalties for aging (though any penalties already accumulated still apply), instead gaining +1 to each mental ability score for each age category beyond his current category.
Draconic Prestige: Also at 15th level, the dragonsoul champion's connection and devotion to dragonkind has grown to the point as to be self-evident to those attuned to draconic nature. All true dragons, as well as creatures of the dragon type (but not those who simply possess the dragonblood subtype), any dragon gods (Bahamut and Tiamat in the default setting), and any clerics, paladins, or other devout worshippers of these dragon gods, immediately recognize the champion as a chosen representative of all dragons, and pay him due respect. Their default attitude toward him begins two categories higher than it normally would. If provoked, they may attack, but may not take any action that they would be aware would probably kill him, unless they succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Charisma modifier). If it is clear that the champion intends to kill them, they receive a +10 circumstance bonus on their saving throw. This is a mind-affecting (compulsion) effect. This ability may have roleplaying or other implications at the DM's discretion.
Draconic Ascension (Ex): At 20th level, the dragonsoul champion's draconic essence fully overwhelms his soul and infuses every ounce of his body with pure dragon power. His type changes to dragon (he loses the dragonblood subtype), though he can choose to allow spells or other effects that specifically target his original creature type to affect him, at his discretion; as well, he is considered to be a true dragon for every situation or effect which refers to that specific distinction. His form does not change, and he does not gain any natural attacks or movement modes he did not already possess. However, his magic ability is enhanced: he gains one additional spell known and spell use per day for each dragonsoul champion spell level (not reflected in the statistics block above, which lists the 20th level spell advancement if this advancement is gained through means other than gaining 20th level in this class, such as by certain prestige classes), and learns any one metamagic feat, spell focus, greater spell focus, spell penetration, or greater spell penetration as a bonus feat (he must meet all prerequisites for the chosen feat).
Ex-Dragonsoul Champions: A dragonsoul champion who shifts his worldview to one of the alignment extremes (LG, CG, LE, or CE) retains all class abilities but is unable to progress further in the class. If the fallen champion was 15th level or higher, the effects of the draconic prestige ability only apply to dragons who match one of the champion's alignment components.
Edited: corrected some of the original table information (Strength bonuses should all have read +2, spellcasting did not allow for bonus spells by ability modifier; and to improve low-level balance and keep abilities in line with existing precedents. thanks Zaydos!