Draconic Bloodrager or Barbarian / Sorcerer / Dragon Disciple?


Advice

Sovereign Court

Which is better: Draconic Bloodrager 20 or Barbarian 9/Sorcerer 1/Dragon Disciple 10?

They seem similar but subtly different, and I am trying to work out the benefits and disadvantages of each build as they both fit thematically with the campaign I may be playing in.

I am interested to read all your opinions on which you would prefer in play from level 1 - level 20, any other advice/suggestions for similar builds, and/or any experiences with either in play.

Dark Archive

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It depends on what you value more...martial power or spellcasting. If you are looking solely to be a martial powerhouse and care little about casting power then Draconic Bloodrager is decidedly superior in that reguard. As a Draconic Bloodrager, you can and will be a powerful martial combatant. Between your full BAB, rage boosts, bloodline powers and other goodies you will feel distinctly magical while being a full martial class. You will have fighting ability on par with other dedicated martials, and without the need for self-buffing and the like. You are just out of the box good at fighting. However, while you are a full-on martial character as a bloodrager, you have to remember that being such comes with all that entails, including being pretty crappy with actual spellcasting. Sure, you get spells, but your DCs are never going to be good enough to really cast spells offensively and you get many of your spells long after they're most useful. Even further, your max spell level is 4, like a Paladin...meaning that most of your "magic-ness" as a bloodrager will come from your bloodline powers and not spells. You will still feel "magical" but you will not feel like a "spellcaster" in any shape or form. You will feel and play more like a barbarian who's rage happens to give him some cool powers....and if that, along with martial prowis, is what your after, then Bloodrager all the way.

However, if you want to feel more like an actual dragon then a barbarian with some dragon blood in him, then Dragon disciple is the best option. Unlike the Bloodrager, you won't be a melee beast out of the box. You'll have less BAB, less rages per-day and less HP due to sorc levels. You will likely rely a lot on self-buffing, as well. However, the trade off is that you are bar none a FAR superior spellcaster to a Bloodrager. If you want to play like a true dragon who can both smite enemies with powerful arcane magic and lay down the hurt in melee, the Dragon Disciple is the build you want to go for. You can fight well, but still scorch enemies with fireballs, unlike the bloodrager. However, what you gain in spellcasting power you make sacrifices for, particularly in the leveling process and in melee viability unbuffed. Unlike the bloodrager, you are not good at melee "out of the box" The sorc levels really hurt your BAB and HD, and as a result your melee will often rely on self-buffs. Even further, the leveling process is more painful for the barbarian/sorc/dragon disciple then it is for the bloodrager...as the bloodrager is good at every level while the barbarian/sorc will not be that great at melee while leveling up as a sorc, and will likely need to wait until dragon disciple to truely shine as both a melee combatant and spellcaster. However, the trade off, in many cases, is totally worth it, as the dragon disciple maintains the ability to be a potent spellcaster AND melee at the same time....it is a true gish/spellsword build that fuses melee and magic into a harmonious whole while the bloodrager is more of a pure martial class with a smattering of magic rather then a true gish/spellsword...

So, the decision comes down to what you value more...magical power or melee power. If all you care about is being really good at melee and having some dragon-y abilities, Bloodrager all the way. If you care about actually being able to be competent at both spellcasting and melee(and are fine with not being a master of either), dragon disciple.


For me, I think Draconic Bloodrager is better while raging. Also full BAB and caster level allow Power Attack and Arcane Strike to work at it's fullest! Along with Blooded Arcane Strike, that extra +5 could become +20 with Greater Vital Strike against things that has good DR and immune to critical hit. Your offensive ability is better than DD.

IF going for Dragon Disciple, your bloodline works outside of rage, makes your more reliable against surprise round or unexpected attacks/traps. If you have a Robe of arcane heritage, you can enjoy your 90ft fly speed anytime in and out of rage, not restricted by how many spells or rounds of rage you get. 10ft sometimes make a big difference. Also as DD offer slightly better will saves while our of rage. You get 5/3/3 from DD, 6/3/3 from barbarian and 0/0/2 from sorcerer. It makes 11/6/8 instead of 12/6/6 from bloodrager.

Sovereign Court

Takhisis wrote:

It depends on what you value more...martial power or spellcasting... [snip]

However, if you want to feel more like an actual dragon then a barbarian with some dragon blood in him, then Dragon disciple is the best option. Unlike the Bloodrager, you won't be a melee beast out of the box. You'll have less BAB, less rages per-day and less HP due to sorc levels. You will likely rely a lot on self-buffing, as well. However, the trade off is that you are bar none a FAR superior spellcaster to a Bloodrager. If you want to play like a true dragon who can both smite enemies with powerful arcane magic and lay down the hurt in melee, the Dragon Disciple is the build you want to go for. You can fight well, but still...

I think the latter of your two options was more what I was going for - the slow transformation into a true dragon schtick - and thank you for summarising the strengths and weaknesses of the two different options, it was really helpful!

Do you think it is viable to go full Sorcerer/Dragon Disciple with no other levels and still be able to dragon-melee it up occasionally with self-buffs and Dragon Form? Or should I mix and match a bit more with the martial/spellcaster class levels? I probably do not care too much about iterative attacks when natural attacks are thrown into the mix, I guess...?

Sovereign Court

SiuoL wrote:

For me, I think Draconic Bloodrager is better while raging. Also full BAB and caster level allow Power Attack and Arcane Strike to work at it's fullest! Along with Blooded Arcane Strike, that extra +5 could become +20 with Greater Vital Strike against things that has good DR and immune to critical hit. Your offensive ability is better than DD.

IF going for Dragon Disciple, your bloodline works outside of rage, makes your more reliable against surprise round or unexpected attacks/traps. If you have a Robe of arcane heritage, you can enjoy your 90ft fly speed anytime in and out of rage, not restricted by how many spells or rounds of rage you get. 10ft sometimes make a big difference. Also as DD offer slightly better will saves while our of rage. You get 5/3/3 from DD, 6/3/3 from barbarian and 0/0/2 from sorcerer. It makes 11/6/8 instead of 12/6/6 from bloodrager.

I had not considered Blooded Arcane Strike (I really need to reread the ACG feats) so thanks for flagging that up along with the save differences, as I missed that too.

Would it be fair to say that the Bloodrager has the superior offense, but the Dragon Disciple the superior defences?


I would say yes, only because the sorcerer spells can be used to self-buff like crazy.

a sorcerer/dragon disciple is viable, but you will be rather squishy, so the melee combat from dragon form may not be the smartest choice.
That being said, dragon disciples are super cool, and if you haven't played one, I highly recommend it.


I Think going barbarian 10, sorcerer 1 and the DD keeps the barbar in the and since pounce is good.
8 caster levels as a sorcerer is not gonna make you any more magic than 20 levels as a bloodrager. It is just gonna kill any offensive use of magic since SR is gonna be a problem.
Sorcerer/DD is not gonna be worth anything in melee with out several buff rounds.
I Think bloodrager is Best both offense and defence since he Can use armor and get the full benefit from rage and casting in rage. The other guy have some benefit from ragepowers and the wizard spell list.
If i was playing someone turning in to a dragon i Think i would mostlikely make a sorcerer and play it on the power in the magic.


Barbarian 9/Sorcerer 1/Dragon Disciple 10 casts as an 8th level Sorcerer, which means you have a Caster Level of 8 and a maximum Spell Level of 4. Compared to the Draconic Bloodrager who also has a maximum Spell Level of 4, but a Caster Level of 20 (or is it 17? I forget). To be fair, your bloodline basically counts you as a level 11 Sorcerer (can get up to level 15 with proper magic items). On the other hand, there's also the fact that a Bloodrager has full 20 BAB, compared to the 16 BAB in this build.

You get a better spell list with the Sorcerer, but you lose out on a ton of class features. Furthermore, you lack the ability to rage and spellcast simultaneously without first spending 2/4 of your rage powers and one of your feats. You lose out on many important rage powers (Pounce, Come And Get Me, etc.) and your rage is not only weaker, but significantly shorter in duration.

All in all, your class features simply won't really mesh properly, and you give up too much for too little in my opinion.

That said, a couple more levels of Sorcerer would really help to tip the scales a bit, IMO. At least 2 will get you 5th Level Spells, which a Bloodrager can never reach.


Martial power vs spellcasting. Pick ur poison. Personally I don't go arcane dragon disciples anymore.


Renegadeshepherd wrote:
Martial power vs spellcasting. Pick ur poison. Personally I don't go arcane dragon disciples anymore.

Very reasonable choice. While Paizo does a poor job balancing classes and bloodlines, bloodrager is by far one of the most fun and decent class I have seen. Wish they balance the bloodline a bit by allowing some weaker bloodline to have their weaker bloodline power even out of bloodrage. With that said, the class itself is good overall.

However, there are reasons why one would pick Dragon Disciple over Bloodrager. One of it would be it's untyped boost to abilities scores, they add to your abilities as if you have leveled up. Dragon disciple is one of the few is not the only class that can do that. Makes it one of the best stats stacking class to have. Yes, bonus from raging would he higher, however, this bonus stays in and out of rage. With your barbarian's rage. You get +4 strength and Con. So if we compare that with bloodrager, my most beloved class, they are not too far off.

Bloodrage Bonuses: Str +8/ Con + 8 / Int + 0 / Will saves + 4
Bloodrager with bloodrage: Str +0/ Con +0/ Int +0/ Will saves +0

Barbarian Rage on DD: Str +8 / Con +6/ Int + 2/ Will saves + 0
DD without rage: Str +4/ Con +2/ Int +2/ Will saves +0

Secondly, Dragon Disciple has one of the most Natural AC of all classes. With a robe of arcane heritage, you have +4 Natural Armor from bloodline, +3 Natural Armor from DD class feature. At a total of +7 Natural AC, better than a breast plate and active in and out of rage, unless bloodrager's bloodline power.

Thirdly, as I mentioned robe of arcane heritage, it gives you more than just AC. Also a 90ft fly speed in and out of combat without worry about running out of rage. You have no need to rage in order to kill targets you can not reach, and hardly anything can out run you. As well as being able to escape better than any other classes, your survival is more solid than bloodrager. Don't forget you have blindsense earlier as well, which helps you survive ambush very well.

Let's not forget that in order for Draconic Bloodrager to use breath weapon, he must enter rage. Which I found a bit stupid as who would want to use breath weapon while they rage? I rather go in and cleave everything. For DD, however, you will not have to worry about wasting your rage just to use your breath weapons. Yes, you don't have powerful breath weapons like full bloodrager, but it's not your thing anyway, you are only using it to clear small waves while not raging, or to clean off things your main caster didn't kill WHILE YOU ARE NOT RAGE. I think you will be casting if you are not raging anyway, since you can't cast once you rage. Unless you are bloodrager.

At this point, it is clear to see that the choice is depends on how you want to be in and out of raging. So if you want to be able to survive better without have to rage, DD is a good choice for you. If you like more power and flexibility while raging, you can sacrifice things you can do out of rage as well as rage power by being bloodrager.


Is there any reason not to go Bloodrager 5 straight into Dragon Disciple?

I'm looking at a Destined Bloodline Conduit Bloodrager from 1 - 5, then right into Dragon Disciple. (I doubt he'd ever go all the way to 20th, so getting the DD benefits earlier is a good thing, right?)

The Destined Bloodrager bloodline gives him a +1 luck bonus to AC and Saves @4th level, plus begins his sorcerer spell access. 5th grants him his Spell Conduit ability. And then the 6th (1st DD) gives him claws and +1 AC, and the +1 damage per die on an element matching my Draconic choice.

DD won't advance my Bloodrager skills, but does advance my Casting. (At least, Hero Lab is showing me advancing on the Caster levels, giving me 2 2nd lvl @8th, etc.)

Is combing DD and Bloodrager worth it? I like all the out-of-rage bonuses the DD bestows.


Otherwhere wrote:

Is there any reason not to go Bloodrager 5 straight into Dragon Disciple?

...

Talk to your GM about it. There is a whole heck of a lot of disagreement on the interaction between the sorcerer bloodline, bloodrager bloodline, and a PrC that advances a sorcerer bloodline.

Might be good. Might be meh.

Shadow Lodge

Yeah, I would require you to take the draconic bloodrager bloodline rather than destined, but would allow the dragon disciple to advance your bloodline rather than starting at level 1 sorcerer bloodline. The upside of this is that getting your powerful draconic bloodline abilities earlier is better than the +1 to AC and saves from dipping destined, and the bloodrager bloodline gives you stronger abilities than the sorcerer bloodline, and earlier. The downside is that these abilities will be tied to your bloodrage, which is very limited if you multiclass.

Assuming the bloodlines are stacked as I describe, you're getting your bloodline at normal speed. Which means if you take DD to 10 and then continue with bloodrager,

You gain:
Str +4 Con +2 Int +2
+2 Will save
+10 HP (average)
Natural armour +3 (on top of the bloodline)
Bite attack d6+d6 energy + 1 1/2 Str
+30ft to your fly speed
+1 use/day breath weapon
Form of the dragon II 2/day (outside bloodraging - you already get it bloodraging)

Give up:
Greater and Mighty Bloodrage: +4 Str, +4 Con, +2 will while bloodraging, ability to self-buff as a free action when entering bloodrage.
3 points BAB
4 points DR/-
3 levels spellcasting progression
20 rounds of rage (almost half your rounds)
Tireless bloodrage
Indomitable Will OR Reflexive conduit

That doesn't sound worth it to me personally - the only thing you get from Dragon Disciple that's really novel is the bite attack - everything else is just a slight improvement or more consistent use of abilities you already get from bloodraging. A sorcerous dragon disciple has versatile casting plus modest combat ability. A bloodrager just seems to lose a bit of peak combat power in exchange for being more consistent when not bloodraging (but is also more likely to run out of bloodrage).

Though the bite is really good for a natural weapons build. If the GM stacks the bloodlines I would be tempted to take 2 levels of dragon disciple for the bite (and +2 Str).


Otherwhere wrote:

Is there any reason not to go Bloodrager 5 straight into Dragon Disciple?

I'm looking at a Destined Bloodline Conduit Bloodrager from 1 - 5, then right into Dragon Disciple. (I doubt he'd ever go all the way to 20th, so getting the DD benefits earlier is a good thing, right?)

The Destined Bloodrager bloodline gives him a +1 luck bonus to AC and Saves @4th level, plus begins his sorcerer spell access. 5th grants him his Spell Conduit ability. And then the 6th (1st DD) gives him claws and +1 AC, and the +1 damage per die on an element matching my Draconic choice.

DD won't advance my Bloodrager skills, but does advance my Casting. (At least, Hero Lab is showing me advancing on the Caster levels, giving me 2 2nd lvl @8th, etc.)

Is combing DD and Bloodrager worth it? I like all the out-of-rage bonuses the DD bestows.

DD dosent give the bloodline arcana so no boost to damage. And it is questionable how DD interacts with bloodrager bloodlines. But the level 6-10 is the Best place to dip DD on a bloodrager. After level you Will regret the decision but at 6-10 it will feel like a strong choice so a game that ends at 10 it is a good idea.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If you are playing from Level 1 to Level 20 then you should also consider the order you plan on taking the classes - personally I would suggest getting into Dragon Disciple as soon as possible and then you have the flexibility to decide if you want to take more Barbarian levels or more sorcerer levels (or something like Eldritch Knight when you are done with Dragon Disciple assuming you want to take all 10 levels of DD.

DD is exceptionally flexible in how you build it - you can be martial focused, blasting focused or more switch hitting. Not sure personally I would love the Barbarian route personally but a few other wrinkles to consider:

1) ACG introduced blood rage powers - your Barbarian could take Draconic blood rage powers if you choose to - though how & if these interact with Dragon Disciple is somewhat unclear - some DM's may rule that your DD bite triggers during your rage if you have the Lesser Draconic Blood rage power - but many others might not agree with that ruling. But it is an option to consider.

2) a robe of arcane heritage is really really good for a Dragon Disciple build - it is exceptional the more you focus on your sorcerer abilities (getting that extra breath weapon and having more dice for it are both really good in the mid-levels.

3) Some other build options you may want to consider:

Bloodrager instead of Barbarian for the melee part of your build. You would get some limited casting abilities (if you go high enough as a bloodrager) and if you take or got Arcane Strike this would open up the phenomenal Blooded Arcane Strike feat. As noted unclear how bloodrager bloodlines stack (or don't stack) with Dragon Disciple levels but even if they don't you would have abilities that work while raging and abilities that work outside of raging which is nice to have.

Bard (arcane duelist in particular) in place of Sorcerer. Lets you cast in light armor, has a lot of spells that have no somatic components if you want to wear heavier armor. Arcane Duelist gives you arcane strike for free so works well with Bloodrager. DD can advance your bard spell casting but you won't have the same blasting abilities as a sorcerer based dragon disciple.

Skald - either along with another more melee focused class (like Bloodrager) or just by itself. You can go Skald to Dragon Disciple as it is a spontaneous arcane caster. You get rage abilities (which you can share with others) but don't suffer fatigue when it is over and better yet you can still use your full skills and even do things that require concentration ( like cast). If you multi class a Skald with another class that gets Rage you can choose which set of rage bonuses to take during your raging song - and if you take enough Skald levels you can even use your rage powers from those levels while under Skald rage - and use your Skald rage powers while using your other rage (if you are at least a Skald 3). Not a full BAB class however, but can also cast while in medium armor. Overall quite a flexible build either straight Skald to Dragon Disciple or something like Skald 3 / Barbarian or Bloodrager 7 / Dragon Disciple 10 could be a pretty potent build (possibly skipping the last two levels of Dragon Disciple which I think offer a bit less than the rest of the prestige class)


So I think the "best" option would be doing DD for 4,6 or 8 levels. That way you can still hit barb 11 for greater rage. and potentially higher levels for more rage powers.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

A further note about Skald. If you go to Skald 5 you get Spell Keening which means that once per day you can cast ANY spell that is on the bard, cleric or sorcerer/wizard lists by spending a slot of the same level and casting as a full round. This is exceptional flexibility that few other classes can offer - if you progress your skald levels high (either directly or via DD) this means you can raise the dead cleric, cast restoration or cast whatever spell you need at that moment. The full round casting time means this is often best outside of combat - but even in combat the flexibility means you can pull out just what is needed when you need it most.

Also note that raging song is a great way to save downed party members as unconacious allies automatically accept the song which includes a boost to con (and you can take Skalds Vigor for some more healing boosts)

Sovereign Court

Chess Pwn wrote:
So I think the "best" option would be doing DD for 4,6 or 8 levels. That way you can still hit barb 11 for greater rage. and potentially higher levels for more rage powers.

Mmmm Greater Beast Totem. Tempting, but if the best dip is for 11 levels of Barbarian it makes me feel like I should suck it up and wait a level for Primalist Bloodrager 12 instead. I agree that those levels are good drop-out points for the Dragon Disciple, though.

Sovereign Court

Kaouse wrote:

Barbarian 9/Sorcerer 1/Dragon Disciple 10 casts as an 8th level Sorcerer, which means you have a Caster Level of 8 and a maximum Spell Level of 4. Compared to the Draconic Bloodrager who also has a maximum Spell Level of 4, but a Caster Level of 20 (or is it 17? I forget). To be fair, your bloodline basically counts you as a level 11 Sorcerer (can get up to level 15 with proper magic items). On the other hand, there's also the fact that a Bloodrager has full 20 BAB, compared to the 16 BAB in this build.

You get a better spell list with the Sorcerer, but you lose out on a ton of class features. Furthermore, you lack the ability to rage and spellcast simultaneously without first spending 2/4 of your rage powers and one of your feats. You lose out on many important rage powers (Pounce, Come And Get Me, etc.) and your rage is not only weaker, but significantly shorter in duration.

All in all, your class features simply won't really mesh properly, and you give up too much for too little in my opinion.

That said, a couple more levels of Sorcerer would really help to tip the scales a bit, IMO. At least 2 will get you 5th Level Spells, which a Bloodrager can never reach.

Do you think Barbarian 4/Sorcerer 1/Dragon Disciple 10/Sorcerer 5 would be better, then? I had forgotten about the significantly smaller caster level, though, so thanks for reminding me of that.


Here is an alternative to the simplification of martial versus spells that I myself said....

Going battle oracle/dragon disciple would allow you to add depth to having such strength. Adding combat maneuvers in addition to feats for weapons is nice, divine protection, and so on. Would blur the line between bloodrager and caster.


Renegadeshepherd wrote:

Here is an alternative to the simplification of martial versus spells that I myself said....

Going battle oracle/dragon disciple would allow you to add depth to having such strength. Adding combat maneuvers in addition to feats for weapons is nice, divine protection, and so on. Would blur the line between bloodrager and caster.

How do you meet the ability to spontaneously cast Arcane spells?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I believe you can do that as a kobold but otherwise would need a GM to house rule it


Otherwhere wrote:
Renegadeshepherd wrote:

Here is an alternative to the simplification of martial versus spells that I myself said....

Going battle oracle/dragon disciple would allow you to add depth to having such strength. Adding combat maneuvers in addition to feats for weapons is nice, divine protection, and so on. Would blur the line between bloodrager and caster.

How do you meet the ability to spontaneously cast Arcane spells?

You take the Scaled Disciple feat from Kobolds of Golarion.


Gisher is correct. Kobolds and those with racial heritage can pretty easilly takes scaled disciple and do what I had said earlier. It burns a fair number of feats and reduces oracle levels but aasimars, half elves both get favored class bonuses to help improve that for their revelations while bein able to take racial heritage and scaled disciple.

So what do you gain with this? Defense. Your saves are stupid high thx to divine protection. Your wearing heavy armor and have natural armor stacking up from DD not including eldritch heritage or natural armor necklace so you AC is closer to a "tank" than anything else. Your health is D8 or D12 per level with a 14 con +2 more from DD so your health is solid. Not bad.

Spells are where it gets tricky. You can cast in heavy armor all day long but spontaneous caster plus reduced spells of DD means you may not make it to level 9 spells at all.

I think the oracle revelations add enough diversity that you can make this class lean caster or combat just like the original choices of the OP. I leave it to you but I shall watch to see what you pick.


Renegadeshepherd wrote:

Gisher is correct. Kobolds and those with racial heritage can pretty easilly takes scaled disciple and do what I had said earlier. It burns a fair number of feats and reduces oracle levels but aasimars, half elves both get favored class bonuses to help improve that for their revelations while bein able to take racial heritage and scaled disciple.

So what do you gain with this? Defense. Your saves are stupid high thx to divine protection. Your wearing heavy armor and have natural armor stacking up from DD not including eldritch heritage or natural armor necklace so you AC is closer to a "tank" than anything else. Your health is D8 or D12 per level with a 14 con +2 more from DD so your health is solid. Not bad.

Spells are where it gets tricky. You can cast in heavy armor all day long but spontaneous caster plus reduced spells of DD means you may not make it to level 9 spells at all.

I think the oracle revelations add enough diversity that you can make this class lean caster or combat just like the original choices of the OP. I leave it to you but I shall watch to see what you pick.

I just realized that the Hunter class qualifies for Scaled Disciple. I might have to play with a Feral Hunter/Dragon Disciple build. The ability bonuses from DD would stack with any ability bonuses gained from Animal Aspect which could really be nice for a melee Str build. Hmm...


just don't get a bite attack if you can help it, DD gives you one anyway.

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