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Oterisk's Guide to the Dragon Disciple


Advice

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Cornielius wrote:

Looks great.

I think the bard was planning an intimidate build, so I'll talk to him.
If he wants to combo, I'll go with the first build.
I'll go with the beast build if he's worried about overlap.
Thanks

Archer Bards shouldn't have the feats to be able to pull off the intimidation like a DD. You have more flexibility with your feats than he should. And I don't know if he can pull off a +19 to intimidate like you can do. If he wants to be persuasive, have him do diplomacy, and you can play bad cop in social situations.


I don't understand how DD negates the Crossblooded penalty of not knowing a spell for your highest spell level slot for one level. Can you explain this?


Any advice you guys could give me on my ranger/dragon disciple for PFS?
Link to thread


Xexyz wrote:
I don't understand how DD negates the Crossblooded penalty of not knowing a spell for your highest spell level slot for one level. Can you explain this?

Since Dragon Disciple advances your bloodline for purposes of bloodline powers and bonus spells, but reduces your caster level, by the time you are Sorcerer 5/ DD3, Your caster level is 8 but your bloodline level is 9. You then qualify for the bonus spell available to either of your bloodlines. Sure the choice for the highest level spell is limited, but you can have some decent choices depending on your additional bloodline.

The funny thing is that it works pretty well regardless of how many levels you take of sorcerer (although I would recommend more levels of sorcerer than this to keep your bloodlines going). Barbarian 4/Sorc 1/DD4 gives you caster level 4, bloodline level 5 and you have your choice of your two bonus spells.

Now, it does little to mitigate the penalty to your will saves, so if you do this route, do not dump your wisdom. Will saves are pretty necessary.


Unless you are doing 2 level of paladin, then the bonus to all of you saves will bump your saves back up to an acceptable range.


the guide says that a pure caster still gets spells lvl 9 at lvl 20, but the DD gets 7 caster lvls and a pure sorc gets the 9th slots at 18. am i right ?

Shadow Lodge

Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
Unless you are doing 2 level of paladin, then the bonus to all of you saves will bump your saves back up to an acceptable range.

I think I'm going to go for three levels of pally. Immunity to fear (and intimidation) is pretty nice no matter how good your will save is.

I really don't care how many first level spells i know, and sorcerer takes forever to get second level spells... neither sorc 2 or pally 4is all that attractive. Pally 4 gets A spell that can be cast in armor, but sorcerer 2 gives me the BAB i'd get as a pally anyway, and starts the spellcasting sooner...


If I was going to do 3 I'd probably go ahead and do 4 levels then just 1 level of sorc before starting DD

Osirion

Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
If I was going to do 3 I'd probably go ahead and do 4 levels then just 1 level of sorc before starting DD

I played in a game using a S1/P4/DD3. We had started at 7 and this was a replacement character. It was awesomely horrific. A glass cannon of Epic proportions.

The Array the DM had us use for stats was way overpowered though(18,16,14,12,10,8) IIRC I had 22St and 20Cha and just insane saves.

The first time I smited in that game every one at the table basically jaw dropped. I mean it was something like:
+18 Attack[+6(BAB)+6(Str)+5(Smite)+1(WF)+2(AoMF)-2(Pwr Att)]
and
1d6+25[9(Str)+6(Pwr Att)+2(AoMF)+8(Smite Ev UnDead)]

Next turn I full attack for:
+18/+13/+13(Bite/Claw/Claw)
1d6+25/1d4+20/1d4+20

It was a shame that game didn't last. It was Expedition to Castle Ravenloft modded for Pathfinder, but the DM didn't realize how little PF uses negative levels and our only healing was myself and the Cl3/W3/MT2.


Ismodai wrote:
the guide says that a pure caster still gets spells lvl 9 at lvl 20, but the DD gets 7 caster lvls and a pure sorc gets the 9th slots at 18. am i right ?

The idea is that you only take 8 levels of Dragon Disciple. It is right in the first paragraph of the Puff the Magic Dragon text.


4 levels of Paladin can be good if you go for a beast type build. I still recommend Oath of Vengeance at that point for extra smites. It is the kind of build that can really dish out the damage, especially with FotD later on. But much of the versatility of the DD is in advancing the bloodline. More damage with Breath Weapon, more Natural Armor, more nifty abilities: it really is what sets the DD apart. If you wanted just a bruiser, then maybe a x4/sorc 1/DD4/Sorc 1/EK10 is your best bet.

But I believe that you miss out on a whole lot of Dragoney fun that way. My favorite build is one that gets at least 17 levels of Bloodline (or 13-16 with Robes of Arcane Heritage). Then you end up with so many little goodies. If you want 4 levels of Paladin, I recommend taking the second level of Sorcerer after the first four levels of DD and then continuing on with DD after, because you obviously want the offensive power available to you, and getting the smites early is important for the long run, but the extra level of Sorc in the middle of the DD class doesn't really hurt you because the BAB continues, and you get another caster level. Win, win.

Bhrymm: Glass Cannon? Absolutely. It sure is nice to add your Charisma bonus to your AC when smiting though. That sounds like a lot of fun, it is a shame you were not able to continue that campaign.

Shadow Lodge

Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
If I was going to do 3 I'd probably go ahead and do 4 levels then just 1 level of sorc before starting DD

What's the rational for that?

This is for Path finder society, so the level tops out around 11-12. Getting 9th level spells isn't something i have to worry about.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
If I was going to do 3 I'd probably go ahead and do 4 levels then just 1 level of sorc before starting DD

What's the rational for that?

This is for Path finder society, so the level tops out around 11-12. Getting 9th level spells isn't something i have to worry about.

3 pal / 2 sorc before starting DD is pretty clearly a mostly martial build. I don't see that 2nd level of sorc gaining you a whole lot.

Whereas the 4th paladin level instead gives you a +1 on fort save, channel positive energy for some more healing, another smite, average 2 more hp, and a paladin spell for the cost of a sorc casting level.

It can go either way, but if it was me I'd do either 2 or 4 paladin.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Just a heads up. You can't get Gargoyle (monstrous humanoid) using alter self.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dennis Baker wrote:
Just a heads up. You can't get Gargoyle (monstrous humanoid) using alter self.

Okay... (Not sure where this came from.)

Good thing I told people to use Alter Self to go Troglodyte for a claw/claw/bite routine. I suppose I can add a "if your GM lets you" to my "you can flavor it to look more like a human/dragon". My reasoning was that if it provided no mechanical benefit it might fall under the rule of cool.

Mini-rant:

Spoiler:

I might be way off here by misunderstanding your statement, but if you are saying what I think you are saying, then it reminds me of something that happened a few months ago in a game. I wanted my alchemist to basically dive through a doorway, shoot a bolt from his crossbow landing on his side John Woo Style. I thought it would be awesome. My GM informed me that I couldn't do that because I did not have a feat that allowed me to shoot in the air like that (I know there is something similar, I just haven't bothered to look it up). I then told him that I move into the room, poison the bolt as a swift action, shoot the crossbow as a standard, and fall prone. This he allowed.

The reason why this stuck with me is the move that I wanted to make had no different mechanical benefit than what I ended up doing, although I believed my first idea would have looked cooler (and in my mind that is still what I did). This is also how I look at the Alter Self spell. In my mind the claws and bite look similar to the claws and bite I would grow through the Dragon Bloodline, especially if I took the sorcerer levels to get claws and the Alter Self spell in the first place. It may not be according to everyone else, but that's how it would look to me.

Although a higher level of DD can grow wings whenever they want, and add wings to the troglodyte form to look vaguely Gargoylesque. Without that pesky turning into stone that the Disney Gargoyles had.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

It came from I was reading your guide and saw something that didn't work within the rules and thought I would mention it.

Alter Self = Change to Humanoid (something)
Monstrous Physique I (from Ultimate Magic) = Monstrous Humanoid


Dennis Baker wrote:

It came from I was reading your guide and saw something that didn't work within the rules and thought I would mention it.

Alter Self = Change to Humanoid (something)
Monstrous Physique I (from Ultimate Magic) = Monstrous Humanoid

I searched my guide and can't find what you are referring to unless you were referring to what I already voiced my opinion on. Troglodytes are humanoids. Gargoyles are not even mentioned. What's outside of the rules?

I would really like to know, because I want my guide to be good for everyone. I do appreciate input, if you could be more specific or include quotes of what you are referring to, it could help me iron things out.

Grand Lodge

Great guide! I have 2 GM credits and 1 premade credit to apply to a new PFS character and you've pushed me to doing a DD build. I'm going for a 2nd-line melee fighter/skill monkey/utility caster.

my build:

Half Elf
Paladin (Divine Hunter) 3/Bard (Archaeologist) 2/DD 7

Str 20 (14 base, 2 racial, 4 DD)
Dex 14
Con 14 (12 base, 2 DD)
Int 14 (12 base, 2 DD)
Wis 10 (8 base, 2 from levels)
Cha 16

Feats:
Half Elf Bonus: Skill Focus (Knowledge: Arcana)
Divine Hunter Bonus: Precise Shot
1st: Arcane Strike
3rd: Eldritch Heritage (Arcane)
5th: Greater Mercy
7th: Improved Familiar (to get Pseudodragon)
Bloodline Feat (Toughness)
9th: Ultimate Mercy
10th: Bloodline Feat (Improved Initiative)
11th: ??? (not important, PFS has me retiring here)

Traits: Dangerously Curious
Scholar of the Great Beyond

I'd switch hit with a composite longbow and a reach polearm, using claw attacks if pressed. When it's go time, smite evil and/or Archaeologist's luck to boost me to frontline fighter levels. UMD wand of shield, mithral breastplate, good dex, good natural armor, good saves to keep me safe. Lay on Hands for extra tanking, good for 2d6 free healing per round at level 5. Familiar at level 3, Taking Raven for amusing UMD synergy. At 9th level be able to raise dead 1/day, same level clerics get it. With 2 levels of archaeologist bard I'll be rocking great knowledge skills, and doing a little bit of trapfinding when there's no rogue around. I'll cast as a level 7 bard, focusing on utility with a dabble in battlefield control.

Basically envisioning a generalist character who'll be up for any challenge a PFS scenario would throw at a group.

I'd appreciate any fine-tuning (or complete revisions!) y'all could suggest. I figure in your guide thread is appropriate.

Edit: For a DD who wants to progress a familiar, I don't think a sorc entry to the class would be a good thing because you'd be stuck with a low-level familiar forever, whereas with bard entry and eldritch heritage you'll advance your familiar by character level. Is this correct?

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Oterisk wrote:
Troglodytes are humanoids. Gargoyles are not even mentioned. What's outside of the rules?

Using alter self to transform into gargoyles is outside the rules.

Apparently whenever I see the word "Troglodyte" my brain reads "Gargoyle".

Sorry about that... carry on.


Dennis Baker wrote:
Oterisk wrote:
Troglodytes are humanoids. Gargoyles are not even mentioned. What's outside of the rules?

Using alter self to transform into gargoyles is outside the rules.

Apparently whenever I see the word "Troglodyte" my brain reads "Gargoyle".

Sorry about that... carry on.

Heh, I've done things like that too. There is a running gag in my group that says that I only actually read every other word written and my brain fits it all together after that. Sometimes I don't think it's that far off sometimes. Like completely forgetting to include the Magus in my guide until it was pointed out to me, so no hard feelings.

I do appreciate your opinion very much, and I did read your guide on Alchemists extensively before I made my alchemist. Now I know what kind of work you put into it and it makes me appreciate it more.


Red Ramage wrote:

Great guide! I have 2 GM credits and 1 premade credit to apply to a new PFS character and you've pushed me to doing a DD build. I'm going for a 2nd-line melee fighter/skill monkey/utility caster.

** spoiler omitted **

I'd appreciate any fine-tuning (or complete revisions!) y'all could suggest. I figure in your guide thread is appropriate.

Edit: For a DD who wants to progress a familiar, I don't think a sorc entry to the class would be a good thing because you'd be stuck with a low-level familiar forever, whereas with bard entry and eldritch heritage you'll advance your familiar by character level. Is this correct?

Thanks for reading my guide and enjoying it.

As for your build, I have a few points for you to consider. I have never played PFS to be honest, but I may be familiar enough with what happens there to give some advice.

Wall of Text:

Spoiler:

1. You mention in your build that your 11th level feat is not useful as you will have retired by that point, but you say you will have the ability to cast as a 7th level bard. You would not get that until a 12th level character. Just sayin...

2. A polearm is a fantastic option for the DD who doesn't focus on their natural weapons, and if you never make it to level 12 where you would get dragon form, then I want to encourage you to use one. There are two things that make a polearm user much more effective. Enlarge person, and Combat Reflexes. Your build has neither of them. I highly recommend you switch them.

3. Greater and Ultimate Mercy are really cool feats, but as I was looking at creating my paladin, I had to ask myself this: How often would I use them? Combat reflexes for instance should come into almost every combat. Ultimate mercy, while being awesome, is only usable when people die. It also requires 10 uses of lay on hands, which I don't think you will have. 1/2 paladin level +Charisma modifier so you will have 4 maybe 5 if you have a headband of Charisma. One more paladin level will get you another one, but you would need two feats of Extra Lay on Hands to get enough to even use Ultimate Mercy. You might want to rethink taking it.

4. Bard is great for skills, and Arcane strike is a good feat too, but you have to look at action economy. Archaeologist gets his luck bonus with a swift action. Smite evil is a swift action. Arcane strike is a swift action. You are allowed one swift action per round.

5. Oddly enough, a better wand monkey is made through 3-4 levels of summoner. I am going to add this to the summoner section soon. Because an eidolon can have a pretty awesome UMD score at low level and fits the role of Improved familliar (you can have it look like a pseudodragon) without any feats. Then you can use your Eldrich Heritage to pick up other things or just get different feats entirely. Weapon focus, Power Attack, Craft Wand (which may not be a good choice for PFS), Combat reflexes, Combat Expertise, etc. If you like Archaeologist for fluff reasons, keep it, but it isn't exactly an optimal choice.

6. I wouldn't put your level bonuses into wisdom. If you want to shore up your saves, put it into Charisma and get a +1 to all saves, not just will. If you put it into Strength, you get a +1 to attack and damage. If you put it into Wisdom, you get a +1 to will saves. These things are not equal.

7. Improved Familiar requires a level 7 arcane caster level. You won't get that until level 12, so you can't possibly get a pseudodragon unless you change your entire build.

8. Save your money on the Composite Longbow and carry a couple javelins. You don't have the feats to take advantage of a Archery Build and you will feel worthless, or at least not frugal.


Now to get a similar concept, I would actually recommend this build.

Half Elf Summoner 3/ Paladin 2/ DD4/ Summoner 1... if you have to retire by 11, the rest doesn't matter.

Same Stat Array, except bump Charisma. Put levels in Summoner and Paladin however you like. Same bonus feats for DD.

Spoiler:

Feats
1 Combat Reflexes
Racial Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Fauchard
3 Power Attack
5 Extra Evolution: Skilled- Perception for Eidolon
7 Weapon Focus: Fauchard
9 Arcane Strike

Build your Eidolon like this:

Small Serpentine Eidolon (looka likea psudodragon)

feats:
1 Skill Focus: UMD
3 Magical Aptitude

Skills:
Stealth, UMD, Various Useful Knowledges, possibly Disable Device.

Evolutions:

1: Skilled: UMD
2: Skilled: Stealth or Perception
3: Scent

(I may be mistaken that your eidolon should be able to use UMD even without hands, but I am pretty sure they can.)

Get a wand of Lesser Evolution Surge and give your Eidolon a +8 to knowledge checks or other skills as needed, have Eidolon stealth and use wands during combat so you can cast spells or attack. Pick up another level of Summoner at level 10, and get the shield ally ability that is really nice with another 2 evolution points for fun. Since your Eidolon has reach, he can do it from some distance and still help you out. You would have to take a 5th level of Summoner before it can fly though. There is that.

You should be able to take advantage of many of the same concepts you wanted to before with a character of this build, have a better buffing list of spells, such as enlarge person and haste, and be a far more effective combatant.

But that is just my opinion.


Why is magus listed as an option? It's not a spontaneous caster.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
Why is magus listed as an option? It's not a spontaneous caster.

Because, oddly enough, The Dragon Disciple advances the caster level of "existing arcane spellcasting class". So if a person has two existing arcane spellcasting classes, they choose one. So a Magus 4/Sorcerer 1 can use DD to progress their Magus spellcasting. You can do the same with Wizard and Witch. Alchemist is an odd enough system to not actually work with it though (I think).

It's kinda a weird thing, and I wouldn't recommend it, but it can be done. So I figured I should put it in.

Grand Lodge

Many good things for me to chew on. Thanks!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you for this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

First of all starsoul arcana doesn't give you dazing spell effect on your evocation spells, it makes the targets dazzled and not dazed.

Question:
Do the STR bonuses from different bloodlines stack?
For example orc bloodline and eldritch heritage abyssal.

Lantern Lodge

leo1925 wrote:

First of all starsoul arcana doesn't give you dazing spell effect on your evocation spells, it makes the targets dazzled and not dazed.

Question:
Do the STR bonuses from different bloodlines stack?
For example orc bloodline and eldritch heritage abyssal.

Inherent bonuses do not stack, and both of the bloodline provide inherent bonus to strength.

Also, it seems pretty clear that the RAI would not advance any other bloodline except draconic. You will have to probably get you GM to agree that the Prestige class advances both bloodlines on a cross-blooded sorcerer.


twells wrote:


Inherent bonuses do not stack, and both of the bloodline provide inherent bonus to strength.

Also, it seems pretty clear that the RAI would not advance any other bloodline except draconic. You will have to probably get you GM to agree that the Prestige class advances both bloodlines on a cross-blooded sorcerer.

Or drop the feats on Eldritch Heritage. I would also rule that it does not enhance both bloodlines according to RAI.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If anyone is counting i think that DD does advances both bloodlines and should do so, only to make crossblooded not suck so much for sorcerers.


leo1925 wrote:

First of all starsoul arcana doesn't give you dazing spell effect on your evocation spells, it makes the targets dazzled and not dazed.

Question:
Do the STR bonuses from different bloodlines stack?
For example orc bloodline and eldritch heritage abyssal.

Ah, a two letter mix up. Thanks for the heads up!

And I do believe your question was answered above. Inherent bonuses do not stack.

And as far as the RAI argument...

Spoiler:
you are probably right

But the advancement of both bloodlines is not a terrible thing. The downsides for the crossblooded archetypes continue through the Dragon Disciple levels, including the -2 to will saves and the -1 to spells known. And the DD PC also cuts down on the spell levels as well. It doesn't make it sound like the Munchkin's dream to me (and having been accused of being one often enough, I think I have a pretty good idea of what would be.)

I don't believe that it is in any way overpowered to allow it, in fact a person who is so focused on their bloodlines using this class to continue them is actually proper. It also allows any sorcerer flavor to have access to a pretty cool Prestige Class as long as they don't mind adding a little dragon to the mix, which makes it work with many more character concepts.


StabbittyDoom wrote:
Richard Leonhart wrote:

for the alchemist dip, you might want to mention vivisectionist, as you sometimes go to melee anyway, sneak attack might be better than bombs.

otherwise, pretty good and complete guide, but it doesn't make me want to play one (don't worry, that says nothing about the quality of the guide, I like my classes straight from 1 to 20). Problem: spellcasting reduction is heavy and your melee will never be good, or do you really want to go into melee with some demon with that guy?

And wings, it's nice, but a witch has the fly hex, there are tons of items or spells that let you fly.
However it has a nice flavour.

And yet you can make a fairly simple Sorcerer who, at 20th level, has 55 strength under their own power with only a single non-free action spent buffing. 55 strength with 3 primary natural attacks and 2 secondary. Even at a BAB of +12, that's gonna hurt a bit (better to-hit and damage than the Tarrasque, if only by a little bit). Even without that buff going, it's 45 strength with 3 primary natural attacks, which still hurts quite a bit.

(Sorc 10/DD8/Barb 2, take Eldritch Bloodline Feats for either Abyssal or Orc; Defensive capabilities probably lacking somewhat)

I don't understand... How can you get your strength that high?


Start with 18, +2 racial, +5 for level, +6 with a belt, +4 because of your class, +6 inherent with Orc Bloodline, and Form of the Dragon III gives you a +10 size bonus to Strength. Then with Barbarian Rage, you get to 55. If you throw a level of Alchemist in there, you can get to 59.

Its a +24 to hit, +36 with bite and tail slap, +12 to wings. You do 2d8+36, 2d6+24, 2d6+24, d8+12, d8+12, 2d6+36. Power attack adds +12+8+8+4+4+12 or 48 damage. Arcane strike adds 30, Amulet of Mighty fists adds 30 too. Heroism adds 12. 213 average damage if everything hits if my math is good. Adding any more damage can be done, may be impractical though. You are already using a mutagen, raging, and having two spells cast on you. If you have trouble hitting things you should, you use Transformation for a good +8 to hit.

This damage is surpassed by nearly any strict melee class at level 20, if not in amount of damage, by reliability of damage. But add to the fact that this is a near full caster, its pretty good.


*drool* Oh, shiny! How did I miss you.
Will dotted for future reading - still trying to blend archer arcane duelist with DD...

Ruyan.


So sad. I guess my archer DD has become void - oh, well.


RuyanVe wrote:
So sad. I guess my archer DD has become void - oh, well.

Hey, I am sorry you didn't get the build you liked out of my guide. I would be interested in seeing your build and helping you out regardless.

Most of the archer cracks that I made in my guide were because I didn't really think of any way it could work any better than any other archer variant. Not to say that it couldn't work in a non-optimized game, to be totally honest, the DD itself is lackluster during the early levels as most Prestige classes are.

Thanks for checking out my guide. I wish it could have been more of a help to you.


No problem. I like the DD for fluff, optimization (e. g. damage output) is of secondary consideration to me. And you're right: dragons do not use bows!

I still like my bard/dd as melee/casty-guy (no sorc in the homebrew setting where I participate as player) and I'm torn between wings at lvl 14 (still late) or permanent claws/bite with 2 levels of ranger which would delay the wings even further. *sigh*

And thanks for the great guide, Oterisk!

Ruyan.


Oterisk wrote:

Might it possible for you to expand the guide by explaining more about the DD builds ex. ''the beast caster and puff the magic dragon.''

As an example the different class choices that lead to them, sorc 5 then DD or bard 7 then DD?
Also feat choices and more how you get into those build choices.

I found the guide otherwise helpful but as an unexperienced player concerning casters especially sorcerer and the DD, I'd love to know more how do you build the DD beast caster.


So some sample builds would be helpful? Okay. I think I can do something like that.

I appreciate your input.

Shadow Lodge

I'm testing out a character I made using this guide, and I like where it looks to be going. Thanks for this guide on a prestige class I have loved since I first started playing back in the last years of 3.5!


I'm interested in math that shows claws a superiour to THF. Because my math says something else.


Oterisk wrote:

So some sample builds would be helpful? Okay. I think I can do something like that.

I appreciate your input.

Thanks, it will really help understanding how to make a build.


Hey thanks Dragonborn3, I'm glad it is living up to expectations. Could you post your build so far?

Wasum wrote:
I'm interested in math that shows claws a superiour to THF. Because my math says something else.

Assume the same strength bonuses for the same character. I made this guy from a 1Barb/4Summ/7DD for a high to hit with decent buffs. I will leave out the buffs for a

A Dragon Disciple at level 12 with a Great Sword.

BAB= +9/+4

Strength 16+2racial+2level+4class=24 or +7

+16/+11
Damage 2d6+10~17 points per hit, 34 if both hit.

A Dragon Disciple at level 12 with claws and bite

+16/+16/+16
Damage 1d6+7+1d6(elemental)x2/1d6+10+1d6(elemental)~45 damage if all hit. (Greater likelihood of all attacks hitting)

That isn't taking into account quite a few things, but at its base, I think it explains enough. Of course at this level you can also do Form of the Dragon, which gives you two more natural attacks at -5. But I think the basic stuff is good enough.

@Sir Dante, you are welcome!


No it isnt.

if you assume enemies having an AC and in addition calculate with the average DR of creatures at the CR your looking at and in addition let gear into play then there is just one time when NA's are actually better than THF. And thats when you build the DD with smite evil and the enemie is within an AC-area of like 2-3 points of AC in which it really is more effectibve than THF.
And as far as most DD builds are going to have haste on their own OR get boots this will make the THF DD even better.
So I dont want to critique much of your guide because its good, but: math says THF>natural (not counting the very first levels where claws are actually ahead, but that does not have to do with the DD but with earlygame claws in general).


Wasum wrote:

No it isnt.

if you assume enemies having an AC and in addition calculate with the average DR of creatures at the CR your looking at and in addition let gear into play then there is just one time when NA's are actually better than THF. And thats when you build the DD with smite evil and the enemie is within an AC-area of like 2-3 points of AC in which it really is more effectibve than THF.
And as far as most DD builds are going to have haste on their own OR get boots this will make the THF DD even better.
So I dont want to critique much of your guide because its good, but: math says THF>natural (not counting the very first levels where claws are actually ahead, but that does not have to do with the DD but with earlygame claws in general).

Well, why don't you do the math and show it to me. I got a lot on my plate. Anyway, here are a few other considerations.

1. I know these are considered magic for overcoming damage reduction, and an Amulet of Mighty Fists +3 is expensive but affordable at level 12 too, so DR silver or cold iron isn't that big a deal either. That is, unless you run into DR Adamantine or Epic for some reason. So I guess it isn't as good against constructs. Oh well.

2. Since the big damage dealer for the DD is the bite, which gets 1 1/2 Str Damage like the TH weapon, I don't see how the weapon is any better with haste.

3. Also, if you use Dragon Form, your gear melds into your body, so you can't use Dragon Form and a Two Handed weapon at the same time unless you throw your weapon on the ground and pick it up again after you cast the spell. It is not always viable.

4. When you get Dragon Form II at level 15 it looks silly to be wielding such a small weapon because you will be large, not to mention the -2 to hit with an improperly sized weapon if your GM actually lets you use swords or pole arms in Dragon Form. That and you get an additional primary tail attack for 1 1/2 Str damage. That's 6 attacks, 4 primary 2 secondary with two of those primary dealing 1 1/2 damage.

5. Fluff reason: I don't think it looks as cool.

I will concede that Two Handed Weapons (especially pole arms) have a use for a few levels in the beginning to middle levels. I did mark it green after all. At 7th level you get the bite which in my opinion finishes the pole arm use, at least for Cha+3 rounds per day. You could be casting for most of the rest of your rounds anyway, so I don't see it as a big deal.

If you are going PFS, you will get good mileage out of THW. If you are going higher, which my guide covers for the most part, natural weapons are the way to go. That's my opinion, but YMMV.


I'll do the math and post it, just give me some time.

My main problem is that I'm using OO calc sheets with macros in order to calculate defense and offense abilities of builds for any level and its kinda hard to translate that into text, but I'll do my best.


Ok, so here we go:

I will post the builds and DPR calculations for level 5, 10, 15 and 20, each with different modifications. I will explain about advantages and disadvantages of these builds.

1. Arcane Duelist 12/DD 8

First of all I do not really like that build. It's good at some stuff and has acces to inspire courage what will help the whole group but in general it just lacks the incredible power of some pala levels.

feats to pick: WF, Dodge, Step up, SF (survival), EH, PA (DD-Bonusfeat), Imp. EH, Imp. EH, free (like critical stuff) and we get 2 more DD-feats like toughness and imp. ini.
Arcane Duelist gives us arcane strike, Combat casting, Disruptive and later Spellbreaker.

we pick orc due to proficiency with falchions. Maybe we even pick toothy if you do not want to depend on NOVA.

ok, now here a screenshot to make stuff clear (excuse if there are some german words, but I guess most of it is english):
http://s14.directupload.net/images/120229/hfziqqfr.png
Yellow is bard, red is DD

The defense of that build is ok. light armor + NA of DD + EH + Dodge. And the saves are ok as well.

Let's look at DPR:

Level 5 (targeted AC is 18):
Using nothing but inspire courage (PA would be great but due to feat management it will show up later. Probably one could pick it instead of dodge to have earlier access to more damage) we face:
+10 (+4 ST, +1 WF, +3 BAB, +2 IC + 1Enh.) and do 2d4 + 10 (6 ST, 2 IC, 2 Arc. Str., +1 Enh). That gives us a damage per attack of 12,48. Using the toothy (giving 7,25 DPA with +9 1d4 + 8) we reach a DPR of 19,72.

Level 10 (targeted AC is 24):

Now our DPR with nothing but IC (move now) goes up to 60 (using our new bite) and dropping good hope will make it 75. Hast instead increases it to 95 and both to 116.

Too bad I didnt pick level 11 as we're getting +4 ST and better PA there:D

Level 15 (targeted AC 30):

With nothing but IC we get a DPR of 126,9. Adding GH makes it 151, hast instead 186. Both add up to 211 DPR.

Level 20 (targeted AC 35):

Base DPR with IC is 177.
GH: 202,8
Power of Giants: 220,4
Hast: 248,41
All: 318,47

Dang it, I forgot to activate and use furious focus in these calculations:(

2. Pala 4/Sorc 3/DD 10/free(assuming EK):

Human. That build is pretty tough. With Oath of vengeance we gain many smites per day, divine grace is awesome and some LoH's are not bad as well.
We're going to wear a breastplate (mithral) and reduce the ASF to 5% (if you want you can consider mage-armor, bracers or the second AAT feat. But if you can stand 5% ASF just give it a try.
The saves are really, really high in that build. Reflex is the worst one but will still be great due to divine grace.
Picking srossblooded sorcerer AND EH gives us a LOT of strength boosts (up to +16). We dont need many buffs so we can just go ahead crushing enemies.
It will look like that:
http://s14.directupload.net/images/120229/blekqsmr.png

Level 5 (targeted AC 18):

We dont have a bite yet what is pretty bad looking a DPR at first levels. proabebly even claws would be better there. Well, we can use claws as well, so everything's good.
Without any buffs our DPR is 10.3. (+10, 2d4 + 8).
Using smite it gets up to 15.2. If we HAD PA we could reach the 19 as well, bu sadly we need to wait in order to get best benefits of feats later.

Level 10 (targeted AC 24):

Now it starts to get interessting. Without any buffs just using PA the DPR will be 47.
Bite: 61,2
Smite: 70,2
Hast: 80
Bite + Smite: 94,2
Bite + Hast: 95,2
Bite + Smite + Hast: 137,2

Our defense and saves are great now. And with mithral breastplate we can move at max. speed. We can cast Displacement without risking the 5% ASF or other buffs as neccessary.

Level 15 (targeted AC 30):

Ok, I guess now we reached the peak. With a robe of AH we got Power of Giants now and our Strength is getting higher and highter. We have Wings and Blindsense. Due to +2 Constitution and toughness our TP are really decent. Our base-DPR is 95,5

Bite: 117,3
Smite: 141,2
Hast: 151,2
Power of Giants: 127,5
Bite + Smite: 177,6
Bite + Hast: 174,7
Bite + Power of G.: 158,6
Bite + Smite + Hast: 240,7
Bite + Smite + Power of G.: 213,2
Bite + Smite + Hast + Power of G.: 278

Level 20 (targeted AC 35):

Ok at caplevel the DPR is pretty nice. We got some more strength and have like 4 feats that I didnt pick in order to maximize certain stuff.
We didnt get more gimmiks so everything that changed is our DPR. This build gets pretty decent attack bonuses, so there wouldnt be much of a difference if I inceased the targeted AC to 40, but just for comparison I'll keep it at 35:

Base: 167
Bite: 208,1
Smite: 197,6
Hast: 233,2
Power of Giants: 190,8
Bite + Smite: 245
Bite + Hast: 276,6
Bite + Power of G.: 238,16
Bite + Smite + Hast: 312,9
Bite + Smite + Power of G.: 263,8
Bite + Smite + Hast + Power of G.: 337
Bite + Smite + Hast + Power of G. vs AC 40: 315,6
Bite + Smite + Hast + Power of G. vs AC 45: 265,4
Bite + Smite + Hast + Power of G. vs AC 50: 180,6

I'm sorry for just giving flat numbers right now, but I dont have the time to type in the calculations. If you want to see them, just ask and I'll add them later, but right now I have to hurry. Maybe someone else would add numbers for natural weapons, otherwise I'll do that some later.
Pretty interesting is that the last build wins on DPR in FotD against NA-builds using FotD when using smite.

But I know that these builds are striking based! We dont have many spells, we just tear enemies apart. If you want to be a viable caster the builds in your guide are way better, but as far as I'm personally no fan of gishes like that because of action economie I prefer having a real striker and a real fullcaster. But if your group is lacking there, sure, having access to 9th level and being a good melee is just the way to go.

Wasum:)

PS: I didnt use any manuals in the calculations! Oh and I forgot add critical focus in the math, but I guess the difference is pretty small (~3-5% maybe).
PPS: If you have some suggestions to improve that just let me know:)


I really appreciate the work you are putting into this. It's very informative. I see you are posting some nice builds. It's good for people to see them, I am going to post a couple builds too, and hopefully that will help some people. Your first build isn't too bad of a caster, because they get level 6 spells at level 18. The bard list isn't as good for blasting, but you do get Heal, which is nice.

Your chart for working DPR is interesting too. I don't have such a program, and as such I think its great you are running the numbers instead of me because I would have to do them by hand.

One thing to remember is that Stacking Inherent bonuses to Strength like from two different bloodlines or from manuals is generally treated as illegal. I don't think its a big deal to stack Manuals and one bloodline, but I am pretty sure that Abyssal and Orc and manuals together won't give you +17 Str unless you have a really, really nice GM.


Ok, yes, thats a good point, if your DM wont let it stack, you probably will have to change abyssal to a different bloodline (maybe some with NA?) or just skip EH and take some other feats that would be interesting (maybe a manuever?). I mean the EH takes up 3 feats for 6 ST, maybe there is a good substitution to that.

Shadow Lodge

Oterisk wrote:
Hey thanks Dragonborn3, I'm glad it is living up to expectations. Could you post your build so far?

I don't have the actual sheet right now, but I'll post what I can remember.

DD Build:
Demon-spawn Tiefling(rolled and got DR 2/cold iron)
Oracle of Lore 1, Tongues Curse, and Sidestep Secret revelation.
Paladin 2
Crossblooded Sorcerer(Dragon/Abyssal) 2

25 point buy

Str 18(16+2)
Dex 10
Con 14(13+1)
Int 10
Wis 10(12-2)
Cha 18(16+2)

Lv1: Fiendish Heritage
Lv3: Step Up
Lv5: Toughness


RuyanVe wrote:

No problem. I like the DD for fluff, optimization (e. g. damage output) is of secondary consideration to me. And you're right: dragons do not use bows!

I still like my bard/dd as melee/casty-guy (no sorc in the homebrew setting where I participate as player) and I'm torn between wings at lvl 14 (still late) or permanent claws/bite with 2 levels of ranger which would delay the wings even further. *sigh*

And thanks for the great guide, Oterisk!

I approve this message.

I toyed around with a DD, ultimately making him a Paladin 4 (Oath of Vengeance)/Sorcerer 8 (Draconic Bloodline - Gold Dragon)/Dragon Diciple 8. The character had a great backstory and was a tremendous amount of fun to play. He was a Greatsword-wielding blaster type who could step in any time and lend an effective hand in melee, but he was never optimized in either role and I didn't care in the slightest. He wasn't the party tank, but he was the party's #2 melee guy, and he wasn't the party's Wizard but he was the #2 caster. He was even the party's secondary healer, it all just depended on what was needed at the time. Playing him always required thought as to how to be most effective from round to round - I actually enjoyed him more than my regular Paladin who was technically a lot more effective if a touch more specialized.

I really appreciate the posting of the guide if only to give people an idea of the different directions you can take with this under-rated prestige class.

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