A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Dragoon (3.5 PrC, PEACH)

    Another of my many final fantasy homebrews, this is my attempt to portray the Dragoon. This is actually a prestige class a current party member has qualified for so far, so I want to get some feedback and possibly revise it before the gets too far into the class.
    There are three big things about dragoons in final fantasy: jumping attacks, spears or lances, and attacking or revering dragons.



    Prerequisites:
    Feats: Leap Attack (seen here), Power Attack, Skill Focus (Jump), Weapon Focus (any Spear or Lance).
    Skills: Jump 9 ranks.
    Base Attack Bonus: +5.
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    The entry requirements are very specific. Jump 9 is to keep the earliest level at 6. I kept the BAB at 5 because I didn't want to restrict non-full-BAB classes from entering early.
    The feats are taxing but all make sense. Weapon Focus (spear or lance) is obvious. Skill Focus (Jump) is obvious. Power Attack is included because it is a prereq for Leap Attack, which is a heavy part of the class's structure.
    All in all the class is made that classes/races that can focus on particular things (i.e. jumping or lances) can get in at min-level, and other classes can get in by 9 without trouble. Humans or other races with a bonus feat, 1 or 2 level Fighter dips, and other options like Favored Soul (with a favored Lance weapon) make it easier to get in, but that's the point; have the class be specialized.


    The Dragoon
    {table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special
    1st|+1|+2|+2|+0|Dragoon's grace, favored enemy (dragon) +2, jump attack
    2nd|+2|+3|+3|+0|Lancet 1/day, uncanny bravery
    3rd|+3|+3|+3|+1|Dragonhunter, spear mastery
    4th|+4|+4|+4|+1|Favored power attack, improved jump focus, lancet 2/day
    5th|+5|+4|+4|+1|Favored enemy (dragon) +4, whirling assault
    6th|+6|+5|+5|+2|Dragondodger, lancet 3/day
    7th|+7|+5|+5|+2|Dragon pounce, greater lancet
    8th|+8|+6|+6|+2|Cyclonic impact, lancet 4/day
    9th|+9|+6|+6|+3|Dragonslayer, impale
    10th|+10|+7|+7|+3|Double jump, favored enemy (dragon) +6, lancet 5/day
    [/table]

    Hit Die: d10.
    Class Skills: Balance, Climb, Craft, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Profession, Ride, Survival, and Swim.
    Skill Points at each additional level: 4 + Int modifier.
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    A basic Fighter package, but extra skill points since you should always be maxing Jump. This way even a negative Int modifier won't be rail-roaded in their skills and get some Ride or Climb ranks here and there.


    Dragoon Features:
    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Dragoons are proficient with all types of armor, and with shields (but not tower shields).
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    Dragoons need to be able to get in the front line. Even if prior classes don't have armor, it's important you do for Jump Attacks.


    Dragoon's Grace (Ex): A Dragoon trains endlessly to increase their aptitude at jumping maneuvers. You can treat any fall as if it were 10 feet shorter per Dragoon level than it really is when determining damage from falling, and at 10th level you become immune to damage from falling. You reduce the armor check penalty to Jump checks by an amount equal to your Dragoon level (minimum 0). Additionally, you take no penalty for Jump checks made without a running start.
    A condition that makes you lose your Dexterity bonus also makes you lose this ability.
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    The problem with making a melee-combatant focusing on jumping around is having both heavy armor / shields and an ACP skill. This is meant to allow you to fully use both powers, getting full advantage of Jump Attack and letting you wear full plate the whole time. You need to be able to jump at any moment and not mind the consequences.
    Note: I avoided the Monk's Slow Fall so it would work anywhere, and I avoided Feather Fall to keep the theme of momentum-based-combat from being disrupted.


    Favored Enemy (Dragon) (Ex): Dragoons are specially trained to deal with draconic foes. You gain a +2 bonus on Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, Survival, and damage rolls against dragons. These bonuses increase by +2 at the 5th Dragoon level and again at 10th level.
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    Largely for fluff, the anti-dragon abilities are not supposed to be universally accessible but make the Dragoon the definitive warrior to deal with dragons. Favored Enemy is pretty obvious.


    Jump Attack (Ex): Dragoons are masters of using leaping maneuvers in combat, using their extra momentum to deal devastating damage. To make a Jump Attack, you must make a charging Power Attack with a spear or lance at a single target and pass a DC 20 Jump check. You receive a +1 bonus to attack rolls for the Jump Attack for every 5 points you surpass the DC (+1 at 25, +2 at 30, etc.). You double the extra damage dealt by your use of the Power Attack feat. If you use this tactic with a two-handed weapon, you instead triple the extra damage from Power Attack.
    Unlike normal uses of the Leap Attack feat, uses of Jump Attack are not limited to horizontal movement, but you must still move at least 10ft in a clear path in whatever direction they jump. You are still limited to one direction of movement and can only move up to twice your normal land speed, as with a normal charge, but you may ignore any difficult terrain in your path. You are immune to damage from falling while making a Jump Attack.
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    I've gone over a lot of different permutations of this ability. In the end, I settled on making Leap Attack more powerful and more variable. In practice, the Dragoon in my party does have a noticeable increase in damage output from the buffed Power Attack and the reduced penalty to attacks. +1/5 above the DC 20 has been the most balanced amount in all the playtesting I've done.
    Math:
    Even with an average roll of 10, a typical level 1 Dragoon that entered at minimum level will probably have at least +5 Str, an item that gives a bonus of +2 to +5, +3 from Skill Focus, and max ranks in Jump (10). With masterwork medium armor (typical for a melee-combatant who wants to avoid ACP) and Nimble Leap (see below), they might have -1 ACP, but likely can get this to 0. That leaves a total skill modifier of around +20, meaning the Jump check will always pass and regularly be 30+ with a little more optimization and decent rolls. Combined with the normal Charge bonus, a full Power Attack of -5 attack +10 damage will be reduced to -1 attack or better almost every time.

    TL;DR - playtesting shows this to be a nice bonus without disrupting balance if you plan right.


    Lancet (Su): At 2nd level, once per day as a free action, you can enhance your spear or lance to heal you as it deals damage. The weapon deals an extra 2d6 points of damage to any living creature. You heal damage equal to this amount. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to your 3 + Con modifier.
    At 4th level, and at every two levels thereafter, you may use Lancet one additional time per day.
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    Lancet is a regularly appearing Dragoon ability in the later games. The idea is to encourage Jumping right into the fray and then being able to stay there without dying. It also boosts spear/lance damage, which helps a lot.
    Originally, this just gave any spear or lance you wielded the "Vampiric" ability, but that was too weak (+1d6). Making it a per day ability makes it seem more valuable and allows me to up the extra damage to 2d6


    Uncanny Bravery (Ex): At 2nd level, you gain immunity to the frightful presence of dragons. You gain a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against all other forms of fear.
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    This is a Barb/Rogue ACF from Dragon Magic (or maybe it's RotD) replacing Uncanny Dodge. It fits the class's anti-dragon nature perfectly, and it even grants a more universal bonus, so I added it verbatum.


    Dragonhunter (Ex): At 3rd level, you gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by dragons and a +2 competence bonus on saving throws against the spells, attacks, and special abilities of dragons. Likewise, you gain a +2 competence bonus on any opposed check (such as a bull rush attempt or a grapple check) you make against a dragon.
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    Just another offensive-dragon-ability. This is more or less taken from a feat in Draconomnomnomicon. Mostly for fluff.


    Spear Mastery (Ex): Beginning at 3rd level, your training grants you additional power when wielding lances or spears. You are treated as having the Quick Draw feat for the purpose of wielding any spear or lance. You may wield any spear or lance as a one-handed weapon, but doing so removes the benefit of its reach.
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    I hate Quick Draw. I hate how useful it is while being so much a waste of a feat. I typically house-rule Weapon Focus as granting Quick Draw automatically for that weapon.
    Wielding in one hand (removing reach) is just a bonus to variability. No need to carry a weapon for close combat, one for reach, etc. This is kind of like the Short Haft feat, but again, lance-specific.


    Favored Power Attack: At 4th level, you gain Favored Power Attack as a bonus feat. If used with Jump Attack, the damage you instead triple the extra damage from Favored Power Attack (or quadruple with a two-handed weapon).
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    This is just a fun feat for synergy. You have Power Attack and Favored Enemy, why not make them work together? Furthermore, if you're a Ranger before all this, you get bonus usability.


    Improved Jump Focus (Ex): Beginning at 4th level, the bonus to Jump checks from Skill Focus (Jump) increases by an additional +3. Additionally, if you make a horizontal jump of at least 10 feet during your turn, you can add 10 feet to your land speed and take no penalty to move up steep slopes on that turn.
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    Not having played Pathfinder, a friend told me how you automatically gain a better bonus from Skill Focus if you have enough ranks in it. Sounded like a cool idea for compensating an otherwise sub-par feat. The rest of the ability is a combination of Skill Tricks from Complete Scoundrel to make your jumps more helpful in and out of combat.


    Whirling Assault (Ex): Beginning at 5th level, you may make an attack against a creature that makes an attack of opportunity on you during your Jump Attacks. For any such attack, you do not apply the attack bonus from your charge or Jump Attack roll, but you do apply both the attack penalty and damage bonus from your Power Attack. This counts as making your attack of opportunity for that round.
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    This is basically to embody something found in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Lilties (one of the races) always wield lances. They even have a charge attack. The first one has them lunge forward, spinning their lance as they jump, damaging everything in their path. This ability is basically to compensate for charging all the time (the AoO you might suffer) and make it more appealing.


    Dragondodger (Ex): Beginning at 6th level, you gain the evasion ability against breath weapons. Whenever a breath weapon would allow a Reflex saving throw for half damage, you instead take no damage on a successful save. If you already have the evasion ability, treat this ability as improved evasion against breath weapons instead.
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    Originally this just gave any armor the Dragoon wore the 'Dragondodger' ability from MIC, but that ability is limited to light armor. Making it an extraordinary ability instead seemed easier to deal with in the long run.


    Dragon Pounce (Ex): Beginning at 7th level, you may follow a successful Jump Attack with a full attack. You do not apply the attack bonus from your charge or Jump Attack roll to any attacks past the initial Jump Attack.
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    One thing I hated about the design of the class was that it was almost impossible to link the strengths of the class with full-attacks, something which full BAB classes are good for. Jump Attack necessarily prevents it as it's a charge, requiring a full round action. Giving it the Pounce ability makes sense to keep it viable.


    Greater Lancet (Su): Beginning at 7th level, the increased damage dealt by your Lancet ability increases to 4d6.
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    This was added to make the class a bit more universal so you still benefit from progressing in later levels even if you're prevented from jumping a lot and never meet a dragon.


    Cyclonic Impact (Ex): Beginning at 8th level, your Jump Attack becomes so powerful it can blow back nearby enemies as a free action. On a successful Jump Attack, each creature within 5 feet of the space in which you land (excluding your attack's target) must succeed a Fortitude save (DC 10 + your Con modifier + your Dragoon level) or take damage equal to the bonus damage from your Power Attack. In addition, Medium or smaller creatures that take this damage must succeed on a second Fortitude save (DC 10 + damage taken) or be knocked prone and pushed back 1d6 X 5 feet.
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    This is basically an alternative to pounce for when there are more opponents than you have attacks. You deal a lot less damage than a full attack and allow a save (or two) rather than attacking. However, if there are a couple dozen smaller opponents swarming around, damaging them all and knocking them back can be far more powerful.
    This is again similar to something taken from FFCC (another Lilty charge) that knocks back enemies. I mixed Defenestrating Sphere (from SpC) with the Power Attack to make it more fitting, and I looked to this Dragoon homebrew for a little inspiration from its entry and take off abilities. It also helps a Dragoon Jump more often by pushing enemies away far enough so he can then Jump Attack them next turn. If he gets an AoO from the guy he just hit, he can strike back with Whirling Assault. Suddenly, you can Jump nearly every round given that there is an enemy far enough away.


    Dragonslayer (Ex): Beginning at 9th level, any weapon you wield is treated as having the Dragon Fiercebane special ability.
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    Once again, Dragon fluff. This is the kind of thing that will let me toss a Mature Adult Red Dragon at the party far sooner than normal.


    Impale (Ex): Beginning at 9th level, you increase the effectiveness of using spears and lances in combat. When wielding a spear in one hand, you add one and a half your Str modifier to your damage roll as if wielding it with both hands. This does not increase the extra damage from Power Attack. When wielding a spear in both hands, you add twice your Str modifier instead. You also retain the ability to make reach attacks with a spear or lance even if you wield it in one hand. This does not prevent you from using such a weapon to attack opponents in adjacent squares.
    As part of a successful Jump Attack, you may initiate a bull rush attempt using your total bonus on damage rolls in place of your Str modifier. You do not provoke an attack of opportunity with this bull rush.
    If you succeed in pushing an opponent back 10 feet or more, you can reduce the distance you push them back by 10 feet. In return, your foe falls prone in the square where they end their movement (which can even be their current space).
    Finally, you are treated as having the great cleave feat for purposes of dropping foes with spears or lances.
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    This takes Improved Jump Focus and expands upon it. Great Cleave is the logical progression in the Power Attack-theme in the class. Expanded wielding-options help with some of the problems of spears/lances, and being able to attack adjacent enemies and with reach in one hand is a great improvement for someone who always wields a lance.
    The bull-rush bit is largely taken from the Driving Attack feat from PHBII, but it allows you to combine it with a charge (for Jump Attack), doesn't require Weapon Specialization or Weapon Mastery, and only works with spears/lances. I grant it at level 9 because the feat requires BAB 14 (5 entry requirement, 9 from Dragoon). It all adds to the potential to make Jumps every turn by knocking even more opponents prone and gives the Dragoon a little more crowd-control.


    Double Jump (Ex): At 10th level, whenever you may move up to four times your normal land speed and make a single direction change during your Jump Attack. If you make a successful Jump Attack, the attack bonus you receive is doubled. Additionally, you may roll twice whenever you make a jump check and take the better of the two rolls, including when making a Jump Attack.
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    Double Jump is a typical high level feature of Dragoons, either granting better damage, faster jumps, multiple jumps, or some such ability.
    Moving up to quadruple your speed instead of double is another doubling mechanic, and the direction change represents jumping one way and rebounding in a new direction, much like Fleet of Foot (CWr) but a bit better and without the prerequisites.
    Doubling the attack bonus by this level is substantial (a Fighter 6 Dragoon 10 with only +5 Str, Jump being cast from a friendly caster (lets say CL 8, only giving +20 rather than the max of +30), full ranks (19), Skill Focus (jump), Improved Jump Focus, Dragoon's Grace removing all ACP, and an average roll of 10 gets a jump check of 50, +6 to attack, making it +12 after double jump. And that's far from an optimized Dragoon which can easily get up into the 70's) and is a fitting double-effect for the capstone. Even so, a +12 or more to hit on a single attack at 10th level of a class which is completely focused around it is not all that obscene when you consider a level 1 spell adds +20 and works with any sort of attack.
    Two jump rolls is perhaps the simplest double-effect but works wonders for Jump Attacks. It also just solidifies the Dragoon's mastery over jumping.


    So there it is, my Dragoon. So far playtesting has gone pretty well for the lower levels. The fighter is actually keeping up with the rest of the party in combat effectiveness and such (granted, there's no wizard in the party, only a Sublime Chord and a summoning-focused-Cleric). More importantly, he's having fun with the class, jumping around whenever he can and playing the character to full effect.

    If you have any thoughts or advice on the balance of the class or a particular ability, please let me know. I always welcome constructive criticism.
    Last edited by Rapidghoul; 2011-12-16 at 05:14 AM.
    "By 'for fun' do you mean 'to kill us?'" - Me, about the DM rolling a d20 several times for no known reason.

    "You have my sword." - the Fighter.
    "And my bow." - the Ranger.
    "And my acts!" - me, the Bard.

    My Final Fantasy Homebrew and Pathfinder Updating! PEACH always welcome.

    Current Homebrew:
    PF "Dragon Shaman" - Paladin Alternate Class

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Baron Malkar's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dragoon (3.5 PrC, PEACH)

    Seems interesting, but pretty one dimensional. While all those dragon killing ability's are nice, Aren't dragons supposed to be somewhat rare? Otherwise it doesn't seem too powerful, just very campaign specific.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Dragoon (3.5 PrC, PEACH)

    The dragon abilities are more for fluff than anything. Like I said, the class typically focuses on jumping, using spears, and dragons. The ACP and fall damage reduction is mostly just to make frequent jumping a friendlier option.

    Spear Master, the bonus on attacks from Jump Attack, the bonus damage in the charge, and Lancet's bonus is all supposed to be the combat roles which help in more general situations. If that leaves it too weak still, what would work to buff it a bit?
    "By 'for fun' do you mean 'to kill us?'" - Me, about the DM rolling a d20 several times for no known reason.

    "You have my sword." - the Fighter.
    "And my bow." - the Ranger.
    "And my acts!" - me, the Bard.

    My Final Fantasy Homebrew and Pathfinder Updating! PEACH always welcome.

    Current Homebrew:
    PF "Dragon Shaman" - Paladin Alternate Class

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Dragoon (3.5 PrC, PEACH)

    I just want to throw this in:

    I'm getting really annoyed by the way the FF dragoon is replacing the historical Dragoon in people's lexicons. It drives me up the wall.

    I do not think it means what you think it means.

    *puts a quarter in the Princess Bride jar*

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Dragoon (3.5 PrC, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by RedWarlock View Post
    I just want to throw this in:

    I'm getting really annoyed by the way the FF dragoon is replacing the historical Dragoon in people's lexicons. It drives me up the wall.

    I do not think it means what you think it means.

    *puts a quarter in the Princess Bride jar*
    Keep in mind the class is purposefully designed to mimic final fantasy dragoons, not real dragoons. To me, a dragoon is the little military unit I used in Civilization II that rode around on a horse. The final fantasy class was originally called "Dragon Knight" but got shortened to "Dragoon" because of "D.Knight" being taken up by the Dark Knight class already.
    This class is meant to be a specific type of dragon knight which focuses on lances and jumping, more commonly referred to (by final fantasy fans in particular) as a Dragoon.

    And also, you win major cool-points for the Princess Bride reference. Kudos.
    Last edited by Rapidghoul; 2011-12-03 at 04:53 PM.
    "By 'for fun' do you mean 'to kill us?'" - Me, about the DM rolling a d20 several times for no known reason.

    "You have my sword." - the Fighter.
    "And my bow." - the Ranger.
    "And my acts!" - me, the Bard.

    My Final Fantasy Homebrew and Pathfinder Updating! PEACH always welcome.

    Current Homebrew:
    PF "Dragon Shaman" - Paladin Alternate Class

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Chainsaw Hobbit's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dragoon (3.5 PrC, PEACH)

    You may want to look at my old Dragoon Base Class.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Dragoon (3.5 PrC, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rapidghoul View Post
    Keep in mind the class is purposefully designed to mimic final fantasy dragoons, not real dragoons. To me, a dragoon is the little military unit I used in Civilization II that rode around on a horse. The final fantasy class was originally called "Dragon Knight" but got shortened to "Dragoon" because of "D.Knight" being taken up by the Dark Knight class already.
    This class is meant to be a specific type of dragon knight which focuses on lances and jumping, more commonly referred to (by final fantasy fans in particular) as a Dragoon.
    I understand, and I knew about the history, I just hate to see rampant displacement.

    I admit I haven't played the games that much (especially the early ones), but this concept always read to me more as a mystical-style class on par with the dragon shaman, supernatural influence without outright casting, thus explaining the unnatural leaping ability. Maybe I'd feel better about it if it was more representative of that concept. Still, it's only my opinion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rapidghoul View Post
    And also, you win major cool-points for the Princess Bride reference. Kudos.
    Thanks. Was trying to not dump all over your thread, figured a good joke-ref would communicate my good-natured intent.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Dragoon (3.5 PrC, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Twilight Muse View Post
    You may want to look at my old Dragoon Base Class.
    Thanks a lot, that will give me a lot of help finishing up the class. I want to try to get in one more jump-related ability at least before I'm done. I like Whirling Entry a lot; I'm working on an improvement to Jump Attack that can deal damage to surrounding enemies.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedWarlock View Post
    I admit I haven't played the games that much (especially the early ones), but this concept always read to me more as a mystical-style class on par with the dragon shaman, supernatural influence without outright casting, thus explaining the unnatural leaping ability. Maybe I'd feel better about it if it was more representative of that concept. Still, it's only my opinion.
    Some games represent this. A shaman-like being which channels dragons, sometimes even granting them breath weapons. Most, though, are just extraordinary warriors. The most famous dragoon, Kain Highwind, had absolutely no magic whatsoever, though he didn't have Lancet either.

    Thanks. Was trying to not dump all over your thread, figured a good joke-ref would communicate my good-natured intent.
    Understood. Plus it helps that The Princess Bride is my favorite movie of all time.
    If it helps, replace every instance of 'Dragoon' in the post with 'Dragon Knight' as that's closer to the original translation. Ignoring the problematic name, how does the class hold up?
    "By 'for fun' do you mean 'to kill us?'" - Me, about the DM rolling a d20 several times for no known reason.

    "You have my sword." - the Fighter.
    "And my bow." - the Ranger.
    "And my acts!" - me, the Bard.

    My Final Fantasy Homebrew and Pathfinder Updating! PEACH always welcome.

    Current Homebrew:
    PF "Dragon Shaman" - Paladin Alternate Class

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