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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    Default So you want to be a dragon? A real one? Sure, I'll help! (Guide to Draconic Exemplar)

    Alright, so, you want to be a dragon? And not as a buff or as a capstone ability that requires 20 levels? You want to be an actual dragon!

    Well, I have something you might be interested in.

    Enter Rite Publishing’s In the Company of Dragons , a book detailing a race/class combo designed specifically to let players play a dragon from level 1 all the way up to level 20, growing in size and power all the way.

    You get to be a dragon! And it’ll be my job here to show you how to make the best dragon you can.

    The majority of the data can be found on d20pfsrd, if you are interested. However, this is only a free sample published on an SRD side; there much more detailed rules to be found in the official book release, which is available in PDF format in a variety of sites, including d20pfsrd’s store and Drivethrurpg.


    For the purposes of this guide, I will be covering:
    -the Taninim race with the important racial traits.
    -the Dragon Racial Paragon Class in full detail
    -If a piece of information is not listed in the pfsrd, I generally will not be listing full details and instead only provide a general idea of what it does when providing my rating.

    I will be skipping entirely over the Draconic Hero Archetype, which is only referenced to in the pfsrd but not given any details.

    Reading this guide:
    I will be color coding options
    Red is bad. The worst of the worst is in this color.
    Orange is not as bad. Passable, but better options.
    Green options are good.
    Blue represents the must haves, selections that are good and are recommended after others.

    Purple stands for options that are rather situational or really hard to quantify without considering the needs of your campaign.

    I. Considerations and Roles

    Playing a Taninim is a unique experience. Regardless of what class you choose, you’re very disincentivized from taking anything to do with armor or weapons as a result of racial abilities that you can’t get rid of. So, even if you decide to roll with a Taninim and decide to roll a fighter, you’re going to have issues using a shield and sword.

    Brawler: This is what the class is made for and it shows. You have very high health, a wide variety of defense selections, and loads of natural weapons, on top of big strength bonuses. There’s also the fact that several of your offensive ability selections favor CMB combat. Just be careful at early levels before your natural armor kicks up and makes up for your lack of gear, you’ll be rather squishy up until you hit level 4, but you got 3 natural weapons to make up for it. Most things die to you at these levels.

    Blaster: You can do blasting with your breath weapon, but it shouldn’t a primary role. The main drawback to using the Breath Weapon is that it is always the same element and it has a random cool down, making consistency hard to use. You can use blasting as a side project to open up for an initial attack, but it’s not necessary.

    Psuedomage: You aren’t a true spellcaster and though you can get SLAs or caster levels from this class, they aren’t the primary focus. But you can get alot of different magical abilities, you have UMD on your class skill list with a heavy incentive to build up Charisma, and past level 10, you get every single wizard spell on your spell list nice.

    Skill Monkey: You have an impressive skill list and a half decent number of points in this. So you can pull your weight around on skill checks, especially if you don’t have a wizard or know it all. You’re not going to beat a rogue though.

    Strength.You’ve got loads of natural weapons and you can grow so large that over time you can carry an entire armory on you. Feykin can safely ignore this
    Dexterity. You’re never going to get much dexterity. Just make sure you have a score over 10. Because any dex damage or poison can just render you helpless in an instant past a certain point, you’re going to want to make sure it’s decent. Feykin can make this a blue though.
    Constitution.You’re going to want this up, regardless of your build. It provides both bonus HP and determines uses for Draconic Weaponry, as well as affects Weaponry and Gift DCs.
    Intelligence. Good to have, but not essential. Very little other than bonus skill ranks apply for an Exemplar. Safe to dump if you really don’t want it.
    Wisdom. You can safely drop on wisdom. Nothing save skill bonuses and your will save run on it and your Willsave is high enough that it’s not a worry. Just don’t go too far.
    Charisma. Used primarily to determine Draconic gift or weaponry DCs. Useful, but not as beneficial as strength unless there’s gifts you want to take full advantage of.

    II. Race - Taninim

    Unlike other classes, Draconic Exemplars, are only limited to a single race, which to be fair is kinda the point. If you could select another race, you wouldn’t be playing a dragon, would you?

    Thankfully, the Taninim come with a variety of racial traits to atleast make it feel like you have choice over what kind of dragon you are, even if you don’t plan on sticking to a Draconic Exemplar.

    I will cover several important racial traits in detail, under the assumption you’ll be rolling with Draconic Exemplar.

    Base Racials:
    +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma, and -2 Dexterity: All around good stats. The hit to dexterity is a pain, but you’re stronger and better able to use your class abilities regardless of what they are.
    Small: Your starting size puts you around gnome size. Nothing magic and you eventually molt out of it. There’s advantages for being small if you decide to not take DE levels, but that’s not the purpose of this guide isn’t it?
    Normal Speed: Nothing fancy here. Passable speed with no maluses. You generally won’t be taking armor so you don’t need to worry about having slower speed as a result of wearing it.
    Type: Taninim are dragons. Mixed bag here. Taninim are treated as dragons may not seem like much, but has a profound effect on certain game play things. First off, you’re not vulnerable to spells that target humanoids, such as say charm person… at the same time, you can’t target yourself with a buff keyed to work on humanoids, such as Enlarge person. Second, you’re vulnerable to the same things dragons are, such as Dragon-Bane weapons.
    Also, depending on what kind of setting you are in, you may end up with a variety of unusual RP situations.
    You can probably manage to ask your DM for creating an “Enlarge Dragon” spell just for your mage if you really want buffing.
    Dexterous Claws:This is the reason why you can’t use swords, bows, and shields. You get penalties to a few things and you get your speed cut in half. But that’s kinda thematic. While you don’t get weapon proficiency as a DE, it gets red because it means using staves or wands would get in the way of you using your melee or speed.
    Dragon Senses: Darkvision 60’ and low- light vision have their uses. Passable.
    Dragon Immunities: Immunity to magical sleep and paralysis may or may not
    Glide: Worthwhile for the early levels, but not going to be helpful later on as the check becomes harder to make without investing heavily into flying. Granted, by then you do just have a fly speed, so this ability becomes useless.
    Kinslayer: A minor buff against dragons. Not really all that great, but in dragon heavy campaigns, it can be handy. Otherwise, it’s too situational
    Natural Weapon - Bite: Okay, this is nice. A bite attack that because you’re a dragon. deals 50% more damage from strength and benefits from power attack’s secondary rule since it’s a primary natural weapon that uses 1 and ½ of your strength. As a DE, natural weapons will be one of the few ways you’ll be dishing out damage. Not as useful for a Feykin, but still useful.
    Scaled Hide: Bonus AC is nice. But it’s nothing major.
    Superior Awareness: Perception and Sense Motive are things you’re always going to use. This is blue because of that.
    Unfettered Predator:And this is how the game discourages you from wearing any armor. Now, granted, you don’t get armor proficiency at all as a DE, but it does mean that you do not under any circumstances have an incentive to take armor proficiency feats or roll a fighter for one level.
    The penalties are worse for medium or heavy. With light, the penalties are at least manageable and aren’t too great if you’re running a casting class. Mithril can be used to circumvent this if you really want to use armor.
    Languages: Decent selection of languages I say. Covers most of the bases and you get two free, Draconic and Common. Only really matters if language becomes important in your table.
    Draconic Physiology: At least with the discouragement of wearing armor or using weapons, you get the quadruped rules, which basically means you can act as the party pack mule as long as you’re not a Feykin. May or may not matter, depending on how much your group spends on Bags of Holding and how much you compulsively loot entire bandit camps.

    Alternate Racial Traits
    Brutish: A fair trade I say. This racial trait drops your race stats and sensory awareness for stuff more important to a frontline brawler. However, the price I feel may be discouraging to some people.
    Feykin: This racial trait massively changes things for you. You start small, no tiny, and you never size out of it. Which is good and bad, but at least you get a free 60 fly speed. For the purposes of the guide, I’ll definately be listing out in some cases how Feykin should approach certain things because of how utterly different some things are.
    Sagely:This trait is better for a caster oriented dragon. Not ideal for the Draconic Exemplar. Skip.

    Lung: Worth consideration. It unlocks certain options as a DE that you may be interested in. Makes using items better and gives you a primary gore attack in the future instead of two wing attacks. You can also use this with Brutish and Sagely.

    Favored Class Bonus: You don’t get anything special for taking Draconic Exemplar, sadly.
    Last edited by Almarck; 2015-12-27 at 11:45 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    Default Re: So you want to be a dragon? A real one? Sure, I'll help!

    III. Class - Draconic Exemplar
    Now then, this is the meat of the Guide. Draconic Exemplars are what Rite Publishing calls a Racial Paragon Class, basically a class designed specifically so that a character of a given race can proceed over a given path stereotypically associated with that race.

    In our case, you get to be a dragon. Nothing else at level 1 lets you do this, so by default, this is a blue.

    Alignment: Any: You get to be a dragon and don’t need to be a specific alignment to do it. That’s good as far as I am concerned.
    Hit Die: d12: Highest HD in the game. Few classes get this and it’s so good.

    Class Skills: A really good class skill list. You get all of the knowledges, all of the diplomacy options, Spellcraft, Use Magic Device, and a bunch of other less important skills. Gets an A+
    Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier: This is the only thing holding a dragon back from being a good skill monkey. And honestly, it could be worse. You get an impressive list to pick from and have most of the choice selections.

    No Weapon and Armor Proficiency: And this is why aside from Wands and Staves, you don’t care too much about the racial traits that penalize you from using weapons or armor: You don’t get any proficiency to use them anyways. You have means to make up for it through class abilities, but there are times when you want to use a crossbow, especially at the early levels.
    Predator’s Claws (1st): Unambiguously good. Combined with your racial bite, you can somewhat make up for your lack of traditional melee weaponry. Admittedly you are going to be forced to either run Permanency Magic Fang, Greater on your claws or take an Amulet of Mighty Fists to empower your claws over taking an amulet of natural armor (though you could just have Permanencied Barkskin to offset that). However, when you first get this ability, you’re going to have the lion’s share of melee damage as you pretty much start with 3 primary melee weapons that get full strength bonus.

    Draconic Essence (1st): This is a very complicated ability to actually measure because it comes with so much. It determines what your primary energy type is, which in turn determines your Breath Weapon’s energy type (as well as other things related to that), what energy types you resist and lastly, a compulsion. The energy type selection will ultimately depend on what you want to tank or what kinds of things you want to ping. However, fire type dragons will be obviously slightly undervalued compared to other types, due to the relative commonness of fire resistant things; at the same time, the number of things that blast using fire is quite high. Compulsions are the same as their threat and danger towards you is dependant on RP elements and game assumptions.

    The only really “bad” choice for Essence is Wrathful as while the Breath Weapon is good being a physical damage type, it gets no elemental resistance or immunity due to not being elemental. However, that in itself can be circumvented if you do not want to bother with elemental damage and go for pure offense.

    Draconic Weaponry (1st, 7th, 12th, 19): This is a rather nice class feature. It’s going to be the primary way you fight that doesn’t involve meleeing your opponents. The fact that uses go up based on both stats and increased levels makes this totally worth while.

    Baleful Glare (Su) – Useful at lower levels, but quickly gets overshadowed. This is like a worse version of the Bardic Performance to fascinate your targets because of shorter range. The only upside is that once you fascinate someone or something, they remain so for rounds equal to level.
    Behemoth (Ex) – This ability would be useful as a passive that lasted for more than one round. As it is however, I feel that it doesn’t offer enough. It’s great for a quick defense against CMB checks, but you don’t need it that much unless you often fight larger scale opponents. The main advantage you’ll want is if you plan to utilize Crush for some reason. If you can’t Crush, this ability is red since it does no offense.
    Breath Weapon (Su) – This would be a blue, if I had to rate it on thematics alone, sadly I can’t. But I can say this ability is going to be your primary way of dealing ranged or AoE damage in the game. Obviously, fire type Breath weapons are less valuable than other elements and there’s some really unusual types like negative energy you could take that have less resisting it, but do less damage.
    The biggest limiting factor is that it has a 1d4 cool down and the fact it takes up a use of Draconic Weaponry to employ.

    Destructive Might (Ex) – It’s useful since it basically means that if you want to focus on Bullrushes or Sunders, you don’t need to spend feats to do it though it costs a Swift action and a use of Draconic Weaponry. You also don’t even need to declare the maneuver until after you make a successful hit with your normal attacks, so you can full attack and then if you want use Destructive Might. But what really sells this ability isn’t the ability itself, but rather how much this ability gets upgraded. There’s a bunch of options that exist solely to make your Sunders or Bullrushes really good.
    Elemental Aura (Su) – This allows you to use your Breath weapon’s energy type on all of your natural weapons, which is pretty good since you since you have loads of those. This also means that you’re not necessarily required for your Amulet of Mighty Fists to come with a flaming or other enchant, because you can proc that if you really need, and it also level scales.
    Almost a must have for a first level pick.
    Fey Breath (Su) (Feykin) – A fairly good ability for when you can affect an opponent with this ability since Staggered and Sickened are good debuffs to nail. The range is bad, but you’re one of the smallest dragon types there is, you can probably sneak up on an opponent and just breathe on them the first round then let your teammates just wail on the weakened opponents. The duration gets longer with level ups, too. Note that this ability might not work so well if your party relies on Fear for anything such as for a Frightful Presence.
    Frightful Presence (Ex) - Unlike the actual dragon version, this requires an action to use and isn’t passive and requires using some of your daily resources. However, the range gets really nice as you level and most of all there’s ways to buff this ability. Now, granted as you fight more deadly opponents, the number of things you can use this on goes down, but it’s still handy to have. Worth noting that even Feykin can use this..
    Primal Spelltrick (Sp) (Feykin) – This ability is actually fairly hard for me to quantify, but I believe it’s fairly good. Granted, it’s not the same thing as getting a full spell list and your choice is pretty much permanent, but having access to druid spells or illusion spells from the wizard spell list is an okay selection. Consider Vanish for instance for cheap Invisibility. This ability is pretty good as a first level choice.
    Rampage (Ex) – While this can serve as a crowd control option or to quickly back up allies in the middle of a melee, I’d argue that it doesn’t do enough.
    Roar (Su) – Repeat after me, Stagger for 1/level within a cone based on your size. Deafen is also good since it means that your opponents may not be able to communicate with each other and verbal component spells have a chance of blowing up. Very good debuff ability since it covers a big area and hurts both brawlers and casters.
    Venomous Bite (Ex) Not an ideal weaponry choice, without upgrades The Strength damage isn’t really valuable a debuff since most opponents that rely on Strength anyways also have good fort saves. It also is only applied via the bite attack by default. The main reason to get this is to take all of the options that rely on you applying your poison a variety of new and interesting ways.

    Draconic Defense (2nd, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 20th): You need these, bad. Because you lack armor and are a big target, you want to make sure that you can take his. Draconic Defenses are taken more frequently than Weaponry and you have loads of options to choose from.

    Aerial Evasion (Ex) – Well, you can fullfill the light or no armor thing easily, but in most situations you won’t be flying and while you have a good base Reflex save, you lose Dexterity from Dracomorphis. Feykin though can take this and it’d be a good choice since they’ll pretty much be flying whenever, and will have monstrously good Reflex saves.
    Baffled Eardrums (Ex) – Very conditional to the point you might not ever see this in a campaign. And even then it’s a reroll with very low cap on daily uses. You have better things to invest in.
    Enchanted Scales (Su) – This not half bad. Now, it doesn’t stack with your Deflection rating from magic items, but taking this along with Thickened Scales means that you do get a higher AC when attacks resolve on touch than if you just rely on Rings of Protection. Feykin will want to avoid this at all costs as they don’t get good natural armor from Dracomorphis.
    Energy Resistance (Ex) – This ability has some value in it, especially if you find yourself being attacked by other elements than your base frequently. However, the fact you need to invest in it multiple times for this advance is a real downside.
    Hardened Scales (Ex) – I don’t like this. The number of things in the game that have magic weapons or have Damage Reduction countered by magic (which means that it can overcome magic DR) is high at the end game. This is decent at the lower levels when magic weapons are rare, but it rapidly loses effectiveness.
    Nictating Membranes (Ex) – Basically, the sight based version of Baffled Eardrums. Not recommended for similar reasons.
    Reflective Scales (Su) – The effect of this thing going off is cool, like one of the coolest things ever to mess with a spellcaster, but it’s a few problems. It requires maxed out Spell Resistance in order to work well, which means sinking 4 Draconic defenses to get a SR that against equal level spellcasting opponents has a 30% chance to negate a spell, or a 25% chance of that spell rebounding, with the rest being the spell affecting you. The downside is that casters that have higher levels than you or Spell Penetration feats make this Defense weak.
    Spatial Sense (Ex) – Okay, this is really good for one simple fact that it prevents rogues from Sneak Attacking you from stealth or invisibility. Now granted, unless you’re a Feykin, you aren’t getting much of a Dexterity bonus anyways, but this can keep you alive. Ranged creatures can still wound you, but that’s what the next ability is for.
    Spatial Sense, Improved (Ex) – Even better because now you’re immune to flanking, which is important because most DE’s have footprints so big that it’s easier to flank you. And of course, rogues can’t SA you at all anymore, because SA’s conditions will fail to be met. You’re never flanked and never denied your Dexterity bonus as a result of being caught unaware.
    Spell Resistance (Su) – This ability takes a bit of investment to get going, specifically, 3 to have a 55% chance of negating equal enemy spells subject to spell resistance. Not bad, I say.
    Thickened Scales (Ex) – This is one of your essential abilities, because it makes up for your lack of armor at all. Every Exemplar is going to want this because otherwise you’re not going to resist physical damage. Taken up to 4 times, but worth it.
    Vascular Fortitude (Ex) – So… Bleed resistance? Well, it’s nothing fancy and it might save a life, but anyone with a cure spell can mitigate bleeding damage entirely.

    Draconic Gift (3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th,18th):
    Now aside from Defense and Weapony, Gifts are a grab bag for various abilities that can be used for a variety of situations, from combat, to defense, ect. Plenty are pretty cool.

    Acid Pool (Su) – Well, of the various elemental breath gifts, this isn’t too bad. You can use it for decent crowd control provided you are big enough to deploy on a chokepoint. It also doesn’t require a secondary use of Draconic weaponry. Oh, and while the gift doesn’t say this, nothing is stopping you from coating an enemy that’s next to you in or near the Acid Pool and then keeping them from moving via threat range so that come next turn, they take more damage from the acid pool. Chances are, you’d be able to resist your own damage, but they might not.
    Animal Form (Su) – Aside from scouting or hiding in your friend’s hat, I don’t see much use for this, because using this removes pretty much all of your racials and thus defeats the whole point of being a dragon anyways. Feykin may want this if they want to turn into bigger creatures for whatever reason. Otherwise not impressive.
    Battering Breath (Su) –One of the few upsides of being a Wrathful dragon. This effect is passive when using your Breath Weapon and knocking opponents prone is very often a good thing since it means they have to waste time getting back up. The only downside to this is that you gotta be a Wrathful dragon to take it.
    Blinding Spittle (Ex) – Anyone remember Jurasic Park’s dinosaurs that spit poison? Well, this power lets you do that…. except that the range you have to work with is pitifully low and requires a few levels.. You might as well just bite them instead of spitting them. At least blinding them is a worthwhile debuff for a round especially since the thing resolves on touch and you have full BAB.
    Blindsense (Ex) – It can inform you if someone is hiding in your midst such as by being invisible, but there’s other ways to spot and locate using gear.
    Bottleneck (Ex) – This is a very specific ability that requires you to be precisely the right size to close off a hallway… which often means you’d be squeezing in. Not recomended at all.
    Breath-charged Bite (Su) – Not as good as Elemental Aura, but the advantage to using this is that you can save Draconic weaponry uses because this procs when you use your Breath Weapon.
    Bullying Bulk (Ex) – Not particularly impressive. You can probably use this to negate a creature’s full attack, by forcing them to move in closer to you, but against creatures that have melee ranges bigger than 5 feet, it’s not a game winner.
    Chain Lightning Breath (Su) – Okay, I like this simply because it allows you to cover an entire battlefield and because it means even line based Breath Weapons can cover a huge area. In fact, I think mathematically speaking, Line Breath adds more potential things to get zapped.
    It’s also Electrical, which means fewer things resist it. Not a bad choice for lightning dragons.
    CompulsiveGaze (Su) – Now, this requires a bit of creativity to work. It’s not a combat power, but an RP tool. Having the power to suggest things has its uses. Also, note that because Baleful glare is an AoE, you can compel multiple creatures at a time.
    Concentrated Breath (Su) - If you want to use a single target DPS version of your breath weapon, this is for you. Adds damage per level and reduces your Breath attack to a single target, but you might want it.
    Cosmic Insight (Su) – Even if only once per day, a +4 bonus that you can declare after rolling a die is hard to pass up. The other parts of this ability only apply in heavily dragon centric games.
    Dermonecrotic Breath (Su) – Okay, now this is the situation where I feel the Poison Bite weaponry has a use, because AoE poisoning everyone who takes acid damage from your breath weapon is pretty good. It’s great from an action economy standpoint, as well as efficiency. And the only ways to avoid the poison are to be immune to poisoning at all or to have Evasion.
    Detect Valuables (Sp) – Too few uses, is going to be detecting “everything” in most circumstances, and ultimately not really all that handy since a Perception check is usually enough.
    Disquieting Growl (Su) – Worthwhile because it’s not resisted by anything. Honestly, supressing the morale buffs is actually the secondary bonus of this ability since automatically giving every enemy within 30 feet of you a -2 on Will saves means that your own abilities… or those of your allies have more chances to work.
    Elemental Affinity (Ex) – Semicomplicated, but let’s go over each in detail.

    • Air – The main reason to take this is to make sure your fly ability remains in the positives, though there's also just being able to ignore the visibility penalties of allied castings of fog cloud or other such spells.
    • Earth – Free burrow speed and the malus to Flying checks isn’t too major since you’d be getting there anyways and don’t really need to make checks on it in many cases.
    • Fire – All of the bonuses mentioned by the text are rather minor… but the main bonus that the text doesn’t tell you is that you, as a fire subtype, are immune to fire and weak versus cold. If you’re a cold based dragon, you basically get away with having two immunuties if you are past a certain level.
    • Water –This is either really good or really bad. If you’re on a sailing campaign, obviously take this. Also, technically, you don’t need this ability to tell you to be able to use class abilities when underwater.
    • Wood – In short, you become a druid.

    Elemental Mastery – The upgrade to the previous ability.

    • Air (Su) – A very good rounds/day ability since you can use this to get in places where you otherwise couldn’t fit into, instantly break out of prisons and bindings, or really anything else.
    • Earth (Ex) – Spider climb and tremorsense. Really good. Granted, you’ll be flying in many situations, but fighting should still mostly be on the ground.
    • Fire (Su) – Low level fire manipulation doesn’t quite cut it.
    • Water (Ex) – As before, good for naval campaigns, not so much for other things.
    • Wood (Sp) – Slight upgrade but you get to cast entangle. And it doesn’t cost Draconic Weaponry.

    Fling (Ex) – Not particularly a fan of bullrushes myself and I don’t see too many benefits from doubling moved spaces. The prone condition is what you’re primarily aiming for.
    Humanoid Form (Su) – The only situations this is useful are those that require you to be humanoid form for some reason, such as hiding amongst them or just using a pub without being large size. This is largely an RP concern and has few advantages in combat, because you lose pretty much every other class feature and racial you have by using this. You’d pretty much be fighting as a “Warrior” with abnormally high saves and better gear...
    Icewalking (Ex) – This ability is bad and so specific to use. And even in the situations where it’s useful, the use is still relatively limited once you get the ability to fly. You could probably use this if you have the Cold breath Gift that makes you create a floor of ice, but do you really need to step there?
    ImbuedSpirit (Ex) – This is fairly nice. +2 inherent bonus to a mental attribute or with more investment 2 or 3. You’ll most likely go for Charisma for extra uses/DC to your class abilities. Nice if you ever want to just to fill up a list.
    Instinctive Spell Resistance (Su) – A worthwhile choice if you ever want to have the ability to lower your spell resistance temporarily to get stuff cast on you in a hurry. One of the big problems of SR is that it applies to allies spells and in order to stop it from doing that, you got to spend actions to will it down. With this, you can lower it without wasting your other actions. Though it does have obvious weaknesses, most particularly you obviously aren’t SR defended when using this. Best in a buff centric party.
    Lithe Movement (Ex) – The problem with this is that as you level up, the number of things you’re able to squeeze in through keeps getting smaller, making this ability harder and more situational over time. It’s good when you’re Large. Not so much past then.
    Naphtha Breath (Su) – This is useless and time consuming to use. The 1d6 damage might seem appealing early on but rapidly falls off. You’d then need to set every other nearby item on fire, which is tedious. In short, not recommended at all.
    Natural Sorcery (Su) – The fact that you can only get the spells and casting ability of a 6th level sorcerer after 3 Gift investments is a downer, but that’s fine. DE is a full BAB class and often they don’t need spells. Recommend you prioritize buffs, such as Mage Armor.
    Overland Flight (Ex) – Okay, now, while it’s probably crazy to take multiple instances of this gift, the fact it stacks with itself is amazing. You can get loads of flying speed easily.
    Pacify the Herd (Su) – Cowering is a decent debuff and the range bonus on Frightful Prescence is worth considering.
    Pinion (Ex) – Well, you can crush when using Behemoth, but Behemoth isn’t all that helpful in many situations to begin with.
    Predator’s Speed (Ex) – This is your only way of boosting your land speed. While flying is better, sometimes you don’t want to fly and this stacks with the Earth elemental affinity by raising your burrow speed. Better for Feykin, because for you, it’s double speed.
    Predator’s Slumber (Ex) – Situational. You don’t really need this unless you are running a solo adventurer or don’t have the ability to form a stable watch. And it’s not like you can be forced into sleep via magic.
    Pulverizing Rumble (Su) – This ability is an okay control ability, just make sure you’re atleast level 8 so you can use this against rocks.
    Rebuke Spirits (Su) – Lung only, but the fact that this gift has two separate uses and targets a wide variety of creatures means that it’ll likely find some use sometime.
    Resounding Call (Su) – This is basically a worse Whispering Wind that only allows a single language, has slower progression, and is not something you can just trade out willy nilly. You can do better just by buying items or occasionally buying scrolls, no need to waste class features on it.
    Rime Breath (Su) – A useful debuff to go along with cold breath. The entangling is nice, as is making the area slippery. Not every enemy is going to make the acrobatics check too, though it doesn’t scale. Wish it did.
    Scent (Ex) – Decent if you want more detection.
    Scouring Gaze (Su) – Basically burning gaze but for your energy type. Not ideal. Serves as a range option, but the range isn’t going up. At the very least, you can actively glare at someone to hit them with elemental damage, but you might as well just use your Breath weapon at that point since it’s faster.
    Shielding Aura (Su) – Once again, Elemental Aura is pretty good, and this buff to it is good as well. Consider this, so long as your opponent doesn’t have resistance towards you, every time he attempts to strike you in melee, he takes extra damage from his aura. Wording is a little confusing, but you can either argue that he gets hit for each attempt to hurt you or he only gets hit by the aura once per turn. The only real downside is that it costs Draconic weaponry to run, on top of activating the normal Elemental Aura, but this is definately blue if your DM rules that each hit in a turn procs this ability.
    Sound Imitation (Ex) – I’m fairly sure bluff already does this in some tables and the chances of you needing to emulate specific noises aren’t really handy.
    Speak with Reptiles (Sp) – This is campaign dependant, but I am leaning towards red simply because… this is an overly narrow purview to work with.
    Spectral Claws (Su) - This can either be really good or really bad. Personally, I think it’s a decent pick up since you can rend incorporeal creatures which unless you get an amulet of Mighty Fists, is going to be outright immune to your physical attacks. This is also for free when you use Elemental Aura.
    Spirit-penetrating Stare (Su) – Well, you can read the thoughts of a single creature as long as you keep concentrating. I say that’s a decent pick up.
    Stabilize Destiny (Su) – This is a decent ability because removing some curses is hard, especially if the curses themselves make themselves harder to dislodge. Immediately supressing them can mean that your allies will have easier time removing them.
    Startling Gesture (Su) – Basically, you can spend Draconic Weaponry to prevent them from casting spells. If you can indentify the spell as something dangerous and hard to cast, you can interrupt it. You may not use this ability all too often, but the times you do give you good odds of negating spellcasters… so long as they don’t get concentration buffs.
    Steel Render (Ex) –Entanglement is a good debuff. Free entanglement after a sunder is passable.
    Stunning Blow (Ex) – Free fortitude check based stun whenever you want to use Destructive Might. Can’t go wrong.
    Stupefying Breath (Su) (Feykin) – The main reason you’d want to use this is for infiltration, I believe. Fey Breath would debuff the target, make them pliable perhaps, and afterwards, they wouldn’t remember you. Think at range intoxication.
    Sweeping Breath (Su) – Basically, Enlarge Breath. If you intend to use Breath Weapons heavilyl, this is a worthwhile consideration because it means you can cover more area at the cost of more use.
    Toxic Mist (Su) – Another poison delivery method. This one though works by surrounding you in a cloud of gas. It’s not an inhalation based poison either, so holding one's breath isn’t going to stop it. So long as your team is okay with poison, they can also camp inside of it and use it for cover. Great for when you are surrounded by enemies who just need to choke on something.
    Trample (Ex) – I don’t consider this to be a worthwhile investment since it’s only a single claw attack.
    Trickster’s Vanishing (Sp) (Feykin) – And just when you thought Feykin couldn’t get any more neat toys. This effect is awesome since it’s invisibility… that doesn’t run off of Draconic Weaponry charges.
    Unfettered Rampage (Ex) – May be situational.

    Dracomorphosis (Ex) (4th, 8th, 12th 16th):
    Alright, this is a very complicated ability that I have to cover in detail, because this is the core of the class. The main reason you’re a dragon in the first place is to have the size and power of one… but there’s downsides.

    With every level of level of this ability, you get some combination of increased strength, more natural armor, better constitution, bigger and more powerful natural weapons. Also, you get a fly speed, your melee reach increases and a load of your other choices of abilities such as your Breath Weapon get more range or have more damage.

    The downside is that as you get bigger, you lose dexterity, get easier to hit via touch AC because you’re a bigger target and you’re clumsier, your flying ability to perform aerial stunts becomes worse due to clumsy wings, and your footprint becomes bigger, making it easier to flank you.

    In short, a mixed bag. But ultimately, I feel that the downsides are manageable because you have lots of levels to plan them out and find ways to mitigate them. Such as countering your slowly declining flying skill with competence bonuses and or counter your decreasing dexterity with Enhancement bonuses to that stat. It’s not perfect, but you want to play a dragon, right?

    Feykin have a different progression, which I will not spoil, other than say is that it makes them better at being tiny fliers. It’s fairly good, but you’ll need to somehow get Dex damage to your natural weapons to make the most out of it.

    Draconic Sorcery (Su): This is very good, because now, you can access Arcane spells with no problem. Or invest in wands to cast to your hearts content. It’s hard to justify staves because you can't recharge them yourself, but you can probably borrow a friend’s to have action economy advantages.

    Great Wyrm (Ex): The Capstone is… underwhelming. Mostly because well, it’s more of the same from Dracomorphosis with an energy immunity tossed in. Nothing special beyond you having completed what you set out to do and grown big. And while it’s fitting, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before in earlier levels.
    Last edited by Almarck; 2015-12-27 at 11:41 AM.
    I possess the Addicted to Editing flaw. I have edit my posts 3 seconds after posting them for 10 minutes.

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    Bugbear in the Playground

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    Default Re: So you want to be a dragon? A real one? Sure, I'll help!

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    I possess the Addicted to Editing flaw. I have edit my posts 3 seconds after posting them for 10 minutes.

    Current Projects:

    Backing Dragon: the Inheritance - World of Darkness Fan game where you play a dragon
    Mutant - Be a horrible abomination of a player character. Comes in a variety of flavors.
    Proprietor - Bring a House to a Sword fight! Be the adventuring interior/exterior decorator. Use siege weapons, customize your hour.

    Extended Signature

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    Bugbear in the Playground

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    Default Re: So you want to be a dragon? A real one? Sure, I'll help! (Guide to Draconic Exemp

    Reserved for Magic items
    I possess the Addicted to Editing flaw. I have edit my posts 3 seconds after posting them for 10 minutes.

    Current Projects:

    Backing Dragon: the Inheritance - World of Darkness Fan game where you play a dragon
    Mutant - Be a horrible abomination of a player character. Comes in a variety of flavors.
    Proprietor - Bring a House to a Sword fight! Be the adventuring interior/exterior decorator. Use siege weapons, customize your hour.

    Extended Signature

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    Bugbear in the Playground

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    Default Re: So you want to be a dragon? A real one? Sure, I'll help! (Guide to Draconic Exemp

    Alright, everything that has been needed to be reserved has been reserved. So you're all free to discuss if you all feel like it.

    This is my first guide, so my opinions and recommendations are probably not as tested as what some of you have.

    Had this desire to publish a guide for this class, simply because I don't recall anyone having done something for it... or any other "monster" class for that matter.
    Last edited by Almarck; 2015-12-27 at 11:48 AM.
    I possess the Addicted to Editing flaw. I have edit my posts 3 seconds after posting them for 10 minutes.

    Current Projects:

    Backing Dragon: the Inheritance - World of Darkness Fan game where you play a dragon
    Mutant - Be a horrible abomination of a player character. Comes in a variety of flavors.
    Proprietor - Bring a House to a Sword fight! Be the adventuring interior/exterior decorator. Use siege weapons, customize your hour.

    Extended Signature

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: So you want to be a dragon? A real one? Sure, I'll help! (Guide to Draconic Exemp

    Thanks for the guide and I hope you continue to flesh it out!
    Last edited by Ironsides; 2015-12-30 at 04:11 PM.

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