Draconic Sorcerer help


Advice


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yes, I know, Draconic isn't the most efficient bloodline, but I like the flavor and I'm partial to the idea of breathing fire someday. But to get there, I'm going to have to survive. This is for what I hope will be a Giantslayer game.

Spoiler:
Human Sorcerer (Draconic Bloodline, Red Dragon)

STR 13
DEX 14
CON 12
INT 12
WIS 13
CHA 16

HP: 10
Fort +1 Ref +2 Will +3
AC 12 Flat 10 Touch 12

ATTACKS
Longspear +1 (1d8+1)
2 Claws +1 (1d4+1)

SKILLS
Bluff (Cha) +7
Intimidate (Cha) +7
Knowledge (arcana) (Int) +5
Perception (Wis) +5
Spellcraft (Int) +5

FEATS
Toughness
Arcane Strike

TRAITS
Artifact Hunter (Giantslayer campaign trait)
Focused Mind

SPELLS (Concentration +6)
0: Dancing Lights, Disrupt Undead, Acid Splash, Message
1: Shield, Burning Hands

GEAR
(2)Scrolls of Mage Armor 50gp
Cold-Iron Longspear 10gp
Club 0gp
Backpack 2gp
Bedroll 1sp
Blanket, Winter 5sp
Explorer's Outfit
Rope, hemp 1gp
Grappling Hook 1gp
Tent 10gp
Waterskin 1gp
(6)days' trail rations 3gp

Tactics-wise, the plan is to mostly use the spear from (relative) safety, popping the dragon claws should an enemy get closer, while looking for good opportunities to make use of Burning Hands. Once better fire spells become available, flame on. At sixth level, hop over to Dragon Disciple.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

reach isn't the best tactic against giants, but guess depends if your DM abuses the giants superior reach. Most giants, have poor will saves and count as humanoids, so they are susceptible to enchantment spells or spells like sleep.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

That's a good point. What would you recommend, then? Ranged on a sorcerer seems poor, due to a lack of feats. I can't think of any reasonable way to get a Draconic Sorcerer in decent shape for melee.

Maybe drop Arcane Strike for Exotic Weapon: Whip and just try for trips/disarms?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

frankly in early levels, I'll just abuse spells like color spray, even against other types of enemies, it basically just end fights. Plus your bloodline will give you evocation bonus spells or if you really want to melee, just do Bloodrager, then go into sorcerer, as you only need to be able to cast 1st level spells.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm a bit concerned about relying on save or suck spells at low levels with a Charisma of 16, though.

I had considered bloodrager, but it's not quite what I was hoping for, and at early levels you're basically just a Barbarian with claws.


Quote:
I can't think of any reasonable way to get a Draconic Sorcerer in decent shape for melee.

I don't really understand the issue. Draconic bloodline gives you natural weapons to attack with. You should be able to use these to get in the same damage as any other melee, if not more.

Stats should be something closer to 16,10,14,10,10,16 or even 18str, 14con, 14 cha.

Grand Lodge

As a sorcerer with a dex i would look at point blank shot and precise shot.. otherwise your ranged touch attack are going to miss when shooting into combat. remember -4 for in combat -8 if your friend is in the way...

as a red dragon you will be fire based but not able to swap your spells to fire.. so consider Crossblooded archetype with Fire Elemental Bloodline
so you can change any spell to fire..

0th level.
Acid Splash: (no spell resistance) dose 1d3+1 with point blank shot and extra +1 which at first level you can cast unlimited times..

Detect Magic: Cant find no magic items without it... or work out what they are (if there is another arcanist then this wont matter.

Read Magic: cant Decipher scrolls without it...

Dancing lights: your human so you need light..

1st
Burning hands, (only one due to cross blooded)(AOE for swarms)

Use your Favored class bonus as a bonus Spell known "Alwayse" As A sorcerer this is a must.

Grand Lodge

I second Rylar if you want to be melee you need to drop your DEx and Go Strength


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

With low dex and no armor, I'd die in melee almost immediately


Mage Armor and possibly Shield are extremely handy in the beginning. Eventually, Draconic and Dragon Disciple grow you significant extra natural armor, Shield becomes easy to maintain, Mirror Image provides excellent magic defense, and you can either enchant a Darkleaf Leather armor or pick up the Arcane Armor Training feat to use a Mithril Kikko.


You can get +8 to armor between mage armor and shield. Natural armor (starting at L3) will augment those. Protection from evil could give you another +2 if you get a third spell.

Buy a haramaki for +1 armor when not using mage armor.

If you want to go the burning hands route, you may want spell focus: evocation and varisian tattoo as your level 1 feats. Take a trait that boosts the caster level of it by one more and you will do 3d4+3 with burning hands at 1st level (+1 if you use saltpeter). Of course, you get to max damage at L3.

Crossblooded hurts a lot but being able to convert other spells to fire is nice. If you go that route you want to choose spells that are NOT fire spells. Ear-Piercing Scream, Acid Arrow, Lightning Bolt, etc.

But that makes you into a kind of blaster, which probably is not what you want.

Building a gish build, you will need to dump some scores if you want to be good at others. INT and WIS are both arguably dumpable, at least a little. You only need to keep your CHA ahead of the level of spells you want to cast, so a 14 at ist level is fine for a gish.

For 20-point buy I might do this:
STR 18 (16+2)
DEX 12
CON 14
INT 07
WIS 12
CHA 14

Use a Longspear or morningstar 2-handed for 1d8+6 damage.

I know a lot of people don't like an int 07 character, but sometimes it can be liberating if you get into it. As a human you will still get 2 skills per level.

Mind you, you should have a look at the Bloodrager class. This might also give you what you are looking for.


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So you wanna be a fire dragon. I know the appeal.

Let's start with Strength. In order to make proper use of the longspear (I don't think you'll be fighting many giants until after the first level or two), you'll want to have a decent strength score. It's a two handed weapon, so a strength score with an even modifier will give you the most efficient damage modifiers. I'd recommend a 14 strength, for a +2 to hit and +3 to damage.

Dex, while nice, is not the main focus of your character. Dragons are always inherently slower, and great wyrms have a dex of 6 usually. It's a useful stat, and can help your poor reflex save, but I wouldn't put more than a 12 in this stat, if you have the points to spare.

Con is useful for everyone, if you have any odd points left, I'd put them here, as the straight number can affect your ability to survive. Death is -Con score after all, so the extra point can save your life.

Intelligence is nice for everyone, and anyone can make use of skill points. As people have mentioned, it is a valid place for gaining attribute points by dumping this score. If you're lucky, maybe you can talk to your GM about background skills, which could help flesh out your character, but with 2 points per level and no mechanical benefit to a high intelligence, You'll never be the skill monkey. There's no mechanical difference between 9 and 7 other than the extra three points you'll get to use in other areas. Although if you don't want to do this thematically, there is one more place you can dump.

Wisdom is that place. The only thing you'll be using it for is perception (the best skill, which is a class skill for you) and will save. Since Sorcerers have a good will save, it's possible for you to dump here and not have too much of a negative aspect to your game.

Charisma is how you work your spells, so it's important. You can augment your saves through Feats, but feats are also useful to the blaster to make their spells more effective.

With a 20 point buy, (with the intention of going straight sorcerer/blaster build) I recommend this spread.

14, 12, 14, 7, 12, 18

You can switch the wis and int for the same skills you had before. And the skills would be useful, but if you had another arcane spellcaster or a bard in the group, you won't need spellcraft and knowledge Arcana (unless going Dragon Disciple). Using your Favored Class Bonus for the first three levels for extra HP or Skills is actually not a bad choice, but after that, having the extra spells known is very useful.

As mentioned before, your Feats can give you an early power boost. Spell Focus/ Spell Specialization can give you a particularly lethal burning hands at 3d4+3 damage, which could kill low level monsters even if they save if you roll well. Spell Specialization can switch to higher level fire spells as you get them, so that's nice. You'll want Spell Focus at some point anyhow, and also Elemental Focus as well for terribly high save DC's. Later on, Intensified, Empowered and Dazing metamagic will make your fire surprisingly lethal.

Take just one fire spell at each level, Burning hands, Burning Arc, Fireball, Dragon Breath, and so on. The rest fill with protective spells and whatever utility you can squeeze out. Enlarge person will give you exceptional reach, and you can also put it on the party fighter for extra damage. Remember, even when you are a blasting machine, teamwork is often the key to success.

As far as tactics go, use your reach to keep enemies at bay, and don't be afraid to attack after you've used a spell or two. Daze is useful at low levels, and Intimidate skill is a really good debuff that costs you nothing but a standard action as well. Let your front liners take the brunt of the assault and move in for kills and clean up, or possibly to flank with the rogue to help them gain more damage.

IF you try to do everything, you'll not be able to do anything particularly well. If you focus one one or two aspects, you should be able to do those fairly well. Sorcerers are wonderfully flavored classes, but are the weakest of the full casters. They can be fun if you don't mind that and build to their strengths. Have fun out there.


With half BAB, using weapons will be a cause for falling ever behind the curve. You'll need to avoid weapon usage and rely on natural attacks. You get claws with the bloodline, so make use of them at low levels. Plan to eventually polymorph yourself at the start of combats into mightier monsters.

S: 17 D: 14 C: 14 I: 10 W: 8 Ch: 14 (20 pt human)

Traits: Reactionary (+2 Init)

Feats: Toughness, Improved Initiative, Arcane Strike, Power Attack (eventually), Improved Natural Weapon (Claw), Quicken Spell

Spells: Mage Armor, Shield, Alter Self, False Life, Bull's Strength, Monstrous Physique I, Heroism, Ablative Barrier, Haste, Monstrous Physique II, Stoneskin, ...

Strategy: Cast one spell at the start of battle, and then get busy. Use long duration defense spells (Mage Armor, False Life, Ablative Barrier, Stoneskin, etc.) liberally.

Opening Round Combat Spells:

1st: Shield (or Mage Armor if it isn't up yet)
4th: Alter Self (+2 STR, trogolodyte gives you three attacks)
6th: Monstrous Physique I (+2 STR, gargoyle gives you four attacks)
8th: Monstrous Physique II (+4 STR, greater gargoyle for six attacks)
etc.

Items:
Lesser Rod of Extend Spell
Amulet of Mighty Fists
Belt of STR
Headband of CHA (eventually)

And then don't forget the damaging spells for your bloodline: Burning Hands, Burning Arc, Fireball, etc. Even if they make their save, your bloodline will add a nice punch to soften up large groups of foes, or foes at range.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Thanks to everyone for the commentary here. I'd been avoiding taking Mage Armor at 1st level, since it's a 3rd level bonus spell for the Draconic Bloodline; do you think I could get away with just using Shield for two levels?

I'm a little resistant to lowering intelligence, as it seems less "Dragon-y" that way, but I'll give all of these suggestions some thought. On a similar note, what do you all think of the Linnorm bloodline (it's one of the wildblooded variants). The ranged attack is a nice alternative to claws, and the arcana seems like it would often provide more natural armor than the draconic bloodline alone would.


Mage Armor: I would rule that you can learn it again at 3 and switch it out at 4. Check with your DM. Also you could get a wand to do this before you learn it.

Level 1 encounters shouldn't kill you just because your armor is low. At 10 AC they have a ~60% chance to hit you and should deal 2-3 damage max. with 14 con, favored class bonus, and toughness you have 12 health. If you take a few hits, back up and use your spells or drink a potion. Fights really shouldn't last more than a few rounds.

Shield could get you through combat for the first few levels, the main difference is that you will need to cast it every fight vs once an hour. Shield will be even better if your DM likes to use magic missile. The other thing to note is you can't cast shield on someone else.


spectrevk wrote:

I'm a little resistant to lowering intelligence, as it seems less "Dragon-y" that way,

Stat adjustments for more INT...

S: 17 D: 14 C: 14 I: 12 W: 8 Ch: 13 (20 pt human)
S: 17 D: 12 C: 14 I: 14 W: 8 Ch: 13 (20 pt human)

+1 STR @ 4th
+1 CHA @ 8th/12th/16th/20th
+2/+4/+6 CHA from a headband

That still allows you to cast all 9 spell levels.

spectrevk wrote:
On a similar note, what do you all think of the Linnorm bloodline (it's one of the wildblooded variants). The ranged attack is a nice alternative to claws, and the arcana seems like it would often provide more natural armor than the draconic bloodline alone would.

If you sacrifice the claws, then aren't you sacrificing the core concept of a melee draconic sorcerer?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Well yes, but in exchange I'd get a fire based draconian sorcerer who doesn't have to spread their ability points so thin.


spectrevk wrote:
Well yes, but in exchange I'd get a fire based draconian sorcerer who doesn't have to spread their ability points so thin.

Is melee damage or spell damage the priority? The advice is different based on which is your true priority.

For example: If you want to be fire based draconian sorcerer (where spell damage is the higher priority), you need to have a higher CHA priority. You also definitely do not want to go Dragon Disciple if spell damage is the priority. The feat advice will also be completely different.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

That's a good point; I hadn't thought of the synergy (or lack thereof) between Dragon Disciple and spell damage.


A dragon disciple slows down the casting of higher levels from a base sorcerer (which is already slower than a wizard). If you don't want that trade off (caster levels for cool flavor and melee buffs) then you are better off going straight sorcerer. Draconic bloodline is alright, but not the best option out there (again full of flavor though).

Linnorm bloodline is fairly terrible. AC buff when you cast spells is alright, but the ray is less likely to be used than claws (even for a dedicated caster). I think the bonus damage from dragon is worth more.

A full spellcaster that dabbles in melee can be done quite well with this bloodline, you will just need a decent starting strength (14 or so). The only feat that is really needed is power attack (6 extra damage per claw/bite), which is a bonus feat. Casting form of the dragon 3 on yourself will put strength at around 30 (depending on gear).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rylar wrote:

A dragon disciple slows down the casting of higher levels from a base sorcerer (which is already slower than a wizard). If you don't want that trade off (caster levels for cool flavor and melee buffs) then you are better off going straight sorcerer. Draconic bloodline is alright, but not the best option out there (again full of flavor though).

Linnorm bloodline is fairly terrible. AC buff when you cast spells is alright, but the ray is less likely to be used than claws (even for a dedicated caster). I think the bonus damage from dragon is worth more.

A full spellcaster that dabbles in melee can be done quite well with this bloodline, you will just need a decent starting strength (14 or so). The only feat that is really needed is power attack (6 extra damage per claw/bite), which is a bonus feat. Casting form of the dragon 3 on yourself will put strength at around 30 (depending on gear).

Power Attack isn't an approach I'd recommend on a half BAB class that isn't making touch attacks.


LazarX wrote:
Power Attack isn't an approach I'd recommend on a half BAB class that isn't making touch attacks.

I don't recommend it either, until 7th to 9th level, and only if you use natural weapon attacks. Against DR-laden foes, that extra damage from Power Attack will eventually be needed though.

8th level (assume +2 STR Belt, +1 AOMF, Lesser Rod of Extend Spell) - Casting Monstrous Physique II on opening round:

+4 BAB
+7 STR (18 base, +2 STR Belt, +4 STR Monstrous Physique II)
+1 Amulet of Mighty Fists
+2 morale bonus from Heroism (extended w/ Lesser Rod, lasts nearly 3 hours)
-2 Power Attack
-------------------------
+12 to hit on SIX natural attacks

Against a CR 11 foe, typical AC of 25, that's still 2+ attacks hitting on average for 1d6+14 (+7 STR, +1 AOMF, +2 Arcane Strike, +4 Power Attack) each roughly.

The real question is how to get more to hit:

+2 flanking (situational)
+1 competence bonus from a cracked ioun stone (+4k gold)
+1 from upgrading the AOMF (+12k gold)
+1 haste effect (Boots of Speed, +11k gold)
+1 more from upgrading Belt of Strength to +4 (+12k gold)
etc.


Also you should be picking their weakness. If it has high AC and is too difficult to hit with a melee attack casting spells would be the better option.

I have found that the high strength of the dragon disciple and bonuses from polymorph bring our attack score up high enough to make up for the lack of a high Base Attack Bonus.


The primary question you need to answer is whether you want to focus on casting or on combat. It's possible to have some decent spellcasting on an otherwise brutally powerful Dragon Disciple, and it's possible to have an effective (if slightly weaker) Sorcerer with decent combat ability; but choose one path or the other.

As far as crossblooded goes, Fey is one very useful option for making some great spells like Hideous Laughter and Confusion more effective. Between the Fey and Draconic arcanas and maybe a little metamagic, you can have a handful of select blasting and enchantment spells that will prove potent even if you focus more on combat.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I think the latter (A sorcerer with decent combat ability) might be a better option to match the character I had in mind. Would Toughness and Arcane Strike still be good choices for 1st level feats in that case?


They're quite functional choices. You can get Toughness as a free feat from the draconic bloodline, but there are other useful feat choices in there as well. If you have the option of using the Eldritch Heritage feat, level 1 is also a good place to pick up the prerequisite.

If you have the option I would go Dual Talent Human so that you can start with something like 14/16, 12, 14, 10, 8, 16/18. Trying to make effective melee attacks with a Sorcerer is an uphill battle, so you really want some proper strength to begin with.

Also, if you aren't committed to red dragon, going crossblooded with draconic (cold type) and elemental (cold) lets you change other elemental spells into cold spells. Then you can slap Rime metamagic on them so that anything damaged by them gets crippled with entangle. With the Magical Lineage or Wayang Spellhunter traits you can pick a spell that won't go up in level for using Rime metamagic on it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rory wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Power Attack isn't an approach I'd recommend on a half BAB class that isn't making touch attacks.

I don't recommend it either, until 7th to 9th level, and only if you use natural weapon attacks. Against DR-laden foes, that extra damage from Power Attack will eventually be needed though.

Or maybe that's when it's time to remember that as a sorcerer, you've got spells as well as claws.


Power Attack can be manageable if you're using a two-handed weapon and looking out for your ab with a decent starting strength and things like Greater Magic Weapon cast on a Courageous weapon with Heroism running. It doesn't hit you with even a -2 until you're two levels into Dragon Disciple anyhow, which is a decent time to pick it up as a bonus feat if so inclined. A So5/DD4 with decent overall strength and a longspear is going to pay -2ab in exchange for around 35-40% more damage.


I would take power attack on anyone who character I plan to melee with. I will make up for the penalty as I need to in order to overcome the AC I have to face.

Liberty's Edge

I kind of feel that Dragon Disciple is a bit of a trap option for someone taking a number of Sorcerer levels, and that it works better with one level of Sorcerer, and then a full base attack class (especially Paladin).

Frankly, I think the most effective Draconic Sorcerers tend to skip Dragon Disciple and just advance Sorcerer. And they probably take Tattooed Sorcerer so they can trade out the claws and breath weapon. That prevents them from making the mistake of closing to melee range (even with a longspear), or breath weapon range, frankly.

Take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.


Heymitch wrote:
I kind of feel that Dragon Disciple is a bit of a trap option for someone taking a number of Sorcerer levels, and that it works better with one level of Sorcerer, and then a full base attack class (especially Paladin).

That's a fairly common feeling, but I have to say I don't quite get it.

The difference between martial 4/ sorcerer1/ disciple vs martial 1/ sorcerer4/ disciple is: +1bab, a few HP, and whatever features you can get from levels 2-4 of a martial class vs: three extra CL and spellcasting levels and three extra levels of bloodline perks.

Both options can work very nicely, but I'm not sure what I would pick from a few more levels of martial that would compare to getting all that extra spell-buffing power. Perhaps something like weaponmaster 3/ sorcerer 2 to get Weapon Training to +3 with dueling gloves an extra feat.

Also as far as safety goes, having significant hp, an inherent natural armor value, an enhanced mithral Kikko, and the Shield and Mirror Image spells for min/level means that other frontliners probably envy your protection.

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