Fixing the Silver Champion Paladin


Homebrew and House Rules

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The drake archetypes from Legacy of Dragons are up on Archives of Nethys, and... good lord are they bad. You trade a hell of a lot for a replacement companion that is hardly even an improvement.

The Silver Champion in particular is a great concept with a painfully bad execution. You give up divine bond (duh), half your smites, half your mercies, Aura of Justice (ouch), Aura of Righteousness, one spell slot per level, and the entire paladin spell list.

In return, you get a "mount" that you need to be tiny size to ride at level 5, and which can't even become an actual, factual flying mount until level 11 for small characters, and level 13 for medium characters.

And here is your new spell-list:

Spoiler:
1st—animate rope,

1st—command,

1st—divine favor,

1st—expeditious retreat,

1st—floating disk,

1st—longstrider,

1st—magic fang,

1st—protection from chaos,

1st—protection from evil,

2nd—castigate,

2nd—align weapon (good only),

2nd—locate object,

2nd—wood shape,

2nd—align weapon (law only),

2nd—animal trance,

3rd—draconic reservoir,

3rd—prayer,

3rd—magic circle against evil,

3rd—fly,

3rd—magic circle against chaos,

3rd—stone shape,

3rd—magic fang (greater),

4th—dragon's breath,

4th—poison,

4th—minor creation,

4th—order's wrath,

4th—dimension door,

4th—holy smite,

4th—locate creature,

4th—rebuke,

Some decent spells, but not nearly enough options, and not even a basic cure light wounds.

So my question is, what should be changed to make this trade a bit more fair?

I know I would at least make the mount a size category larger right off the bat. And it would get flight and a weak and/or severely limited breath weapon by default. On top of that, either get rid of the dragon magic, or make it add spells to the paladin list, not replace them all. It would still be a bit too costly if we didn't bring back some smites, mercies or auras, but at least you'd get something worth having.


It's a fair trade once you get up to a decent level, you just can't expect to be a dragon riding hero at level 1.

Some of those spells aren't so bad.. Paladins don't normally get Fly on their list. Nor longstrider, or dragon's breath. Given that spellcasting is more of a hobby than a basic foundation for the class, I see no problems with this.

As far as cure light wounds go... Lay On Hands does more than suffice as a replacement. And you're not really giving up divine bond as opposed to making a fixed modified choice of it.

A dragon is a high level creature, it makes sense that a Silver Champion should be a rewared for dedication and a significant sacrifice of power.


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

It's a fair trade once you get up to a decent level, you just can't expect to be a dragon riding hero at level 1.

Some of those spells aren't so bad.. Paladins don't normally get Fly on their list. Nor longstrider, or dragon's breath. Given that spellcasting is more of a hobby than a basic foundation for the class, I see no problems with this.

As far as cure light wounds go... Lay On Hands does more than suffice as a replacement. And you're not really giving up divine bond as opposed to making a fixed modified choice of it.

A dragon is a high level creature, it makes sense that a Silver Champion should be a rewared for dedication and a significant sacrifice of power.

Quite frankly I'd do away with the archetype altogether. A PC who wants to ride a dragon should pretty much be recruiting one as an ally, either though leadership for GM's that allow that feat or through roleplay.


making the drake start out bigger would be a first, maybe medium.
cutting out some of the cost would be helpful but I don't know about it flight and breath right of the bat maybe a free drake power, not everyone wants their drake to fly some like to swim or burrow or something else.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
It's a fair trade once you get up to a decent level, you just can't expect to be a dragon riding hero at level 1.

Sure I can. It would be silly to expect to have my own huge or colossal dragon at level 5, but something I can at least sit on seems reasonable. It ought to start ought at least medium sized, and I ought to be able to ride it. That isn't asking much.

It's not as painful at the highest levels, but it is still not very good. A normal animal companion may have less HP and bad will saves, but between their better starting stats, special abilities, built in strength and dex increases, and features like link, share spells, evasion etc, many can keep up with the drake quite well. If your GM only allows horses, yeah, you can eventually call the drake a better option, but against some of the other more interesting things like rocs and giant scorpions, the drake is not that special.

And there's no reason why an archetype should suck at any level. Especially since the majority of games are played at lower levels.

Quote:
Some of those spells aren't so bad.. Paladins don't normally get Fly on their list. Nor longstrider, or dragon's breath. Given that spellcasting is more of a hobby than a basic foundation for the class, I see no problems with this.

As I said, there are decent spells there, but you are giving up so many more. It's a significant downgrade, even if it isn't all bad.

I'd be ok with trading out some spellcasting ability. Just not on top of all the other things that get traded out.

Quote:
As far as cure light wounds go... Lay On Hands does more than suffice as a replacement. And you're not really giving up divine bond as opposed to making a fixed modified choice of it.

Lay on hands is limited. Cure light wounds, even if you never prepare it, is still arguably the best spell to have on your spell list because it enables you to use a wand of cure light wounds, the single best source of healing in the game. And it is so basic a spell for a good aligned divine caster that its absence just feels wrong.

Quote:
A dragon is a high level creature, it makes sense that a Silver Champion should be a rewared for dedication and a significant sacrifice of power.

A dragon is a creature which starts out smaller and weaker and grows into something immensely powerful. I'm not suggesting we start at immensely powerful, only that the price for the smaller weaker version is way too much for what we get.


Makitstop wrote:
[Cure Light Wounds] is so basic a spell for a good aligned divine caster that its absence just feels wrong.

Not necessarily. It's not aligned, negative energy is more stable, and there are Good creatures it actively harms.


Unsanctioned Knowledge is a thing


For comparison, I put together the base stat blocks for a horse mount, a roc mount for our exotic flying option, and a drake.

Horse

Spoiler:
Horse animal companion
N Large animal
Init +2; Senses low-light vision, scent;

DEFENSE

AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 15 (+2 Dex, +6 natural, –1 size)
hp 37 (5d8+15)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +2

OFFENSE

Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +6 (1d4+4), 2 hooves +1 (1d6+2)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

STATISTICS

Str 19, Dex 14, Con 17, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +3; CMB +8; CMD 20 (24 vs. trip)
SQ link, share spells, evasion


Roc
Spoiler:
Roc animal companion
N Medium animal
Init +4; Senses low-light vision

DEFENSE

AC 21, touch 14, flat-footed 17 (+4 Dex, +7 natural)
hp 17 (5d8-5)
Fort +3, Ref +8, Will +2

OFFENSE

Speed 20 ft, fly 80 ft.
Melee 2 talons +4 (1d4+1), bite +4 (1d6+1)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

STATISTICS

Str 12, Dex 19, Con 9, Int 6, Wis 13, Cha 11
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 18
SQ link, share spells, evasion


Drake
Spoiler:

Drake companion
N Small dragon
Init +2; Senses low-light vision, darkvision

DEFENSE

AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed +13 (+2 Dex, +2 natural, +1 size)
hp 30 (4d12+4)
Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +4
immunities: sleep, paralysis

OFFENSE

Speed 20 ft.
Melee bite +6 (1d4+1), tail +1 (1d4)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

STATISTICS

Str 12, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 4, Wis 10, Cha 7
Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 16 (20 vs. trip)

At level 5, your horse mount is by far the best, the roc is still waiting for its level 7 advancement, and the drake is pretty awful.

Horse (12th level)

Spoiler:
Horse animal companion
N Large magical beast
Init +3; Senses low-light vision, darkvision, scent;

DEFENSE

AC 24, touch 12, flat-footed 22 (+3 Dex, +12 natural, –1 size)
hp 75 (10d8+30)
Fort +10, Ref +10, Will +4
Damage Reduction 10/Evil
Resistances: cold 10, acid 10, electricity 10

OFFENSE

Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +13 (1d4+6), 2 hooves +11 (1d6+3)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

STATISTICS

Str 22, Dex 17, Con 17, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +7; CMB +15; CMD 28 (32 vs. trip)
SQ link, share spells, evasion, devotion, multiattack, smite evil 1/day


Roc (12th level)
Spoiler:
Roc animal companion
N Large megical beast
Init +5; Senses low-light vision, Darkvision

DEFENSE

AC 30, touch 14, flat-footed 25 (+5 Dex, +16 natural, -1 size)
hp 55 (10d8+10)
Fort +8, Ref +12, Will +4
Damage Reduction 10/Evil
Resistances: cold 10, acid 10, electricity 10

OFFENSE

Speed 20 ft, fly 80 ft.
Melee 2 talons +12 (1d6+6 plus grab), bite +12 (1d8+6)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

STATISTICS

Str 23, Dex 20, Con 13, Int 6, Wis 13, Cha 11
Base Atk +7; CMB +14; CMD 29
SQ link, share spells, evasion, devotion, multiattack, smite evil 1/day


Drake (12th level)
Spoiler:
Drake companion
N Medium dragon
Init +1; Senses low-light vision, darkvision

DEFENSE

AC 21, touch 11, flat-footed +20 (+1 Dex, +10 natural)
hp 76 (9d12+18)
Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +6
immunities: sleep, paralysis

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +12 (1d6+3), tail +7 (1d6+1)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

STATISTICS

Str 16, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 4, Wis 10, Cha 7
Base Atk +9; CMB +12; CMD 23 (27 vs. trip)

At level 12, the horse is a powerhouse, the roc is awesome if a bit low on health, and the drake.... is still crap.

Horse (18th level)

Spoiler:
Horse animal companion
N Large magical beast
Init +4; Senses low-light vision, darkvision, scent;

DEFENSE

AC 29, touch 13, flat-footed 26 (+4 Dex, +16 natural, –1 size)
hp 112 (15d8+45)
Fort +14, Ref +15, Will +6
Damage Reduction 10/Evil
Resistances: cold 10, acid 10, electricity 10
Spell resistance: 29

OFFENSE

Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +18 (1d4+7), 2 hooves +16 (1d6+3)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

STATISTICS

Str 24, Dex 19, Con 17, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +11; CMB +19; CMD 33 (37 vs. trip)
SQ link, share spells, improved evasion, devotion, multiattack, smite evil 1/day


Roc (18th level)
Spoiler:
Roc animal companion
N Large megical beast
Init +6; Senses low-light vision, Darkvision

DEFENSE

AC 35, touch 15, flat-footed 29 (+6 Dex, +20 natural, -1 size)
hp 72 (15d8+15)
Fort +12, Ref +17, Will +6
Damage Reduction 10/Evil
Resistances: cold 10, acid 10, electricity 10
Spell resistance: 29

OFFENSE

Speed 20 ft, fly 80 ft.
Melee 2 talons +17 (1d6+7 plus grab), bite +17 (1d8+7)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

STATISTICS

Str 25, Dex 22, Con 13, Int 6, Wis 13, Cha 11
Base Atk +11; CMB +19; CMD 35
SQ link, share spells, improved evasion, devotion, multiattack, smite evil 1/day


Drake (18th level)
Spoiler:
Drake companion
N Huge dragon
Init -1; Senses low-light vision, darkvision

DEFENSE

AC 25, touch 7, flat-footed +26 (-1 Dex, +18 natural, -2 size)
hp 140 (14d12+56)
Fort +13, Ref +8, Will +9
immunities: sleep, paralysis

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +19 (2d6+7), tail +14 (2d6+3)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

STATISTICS

Str 24, Dex 9, Con 19, Int 4, Wis 10, Cha 7
Base Atk +14; CMB +23; CMD 32 (36 vs. trip)

At level 18, the horse and roc don't gain as much, though spell resistance is nice. The drake is finally coming into its own, but even with all its health and a few drake powers, it's hard to compete with all the cool stuff that the actual mounts get, like damage reduction and smite evil.

In conclusion, at all but the highest levels, the drake isn't even close to a fair trade for the mount. The idea that it would be worth not only the mount, but all those class features is laughable. The drake is in desperate need of revision, and the trade offs need to be reduced.


What feats do drakes get access to that regular mounts wouldn't?


I agree, the Drake's not really anything special as far as animal companions go, especially when it's not counted as the animal companion class feature, and so can't use anything, such as feats, that require it.

When you consider that literally every archetype that gets one has to give up nearly half of their class features for it, it's downright bad. The Cavalier doesn't even get the Mount ability of the Drake without burning a power on it.

Grand Lodge

What bothers me is that you have to waste powers on giving it the ability to fly


You would assume that's something they'd get at least the base level for through normal leveling.


I'm glad. If it were an even trade, we'd see tons of drake companions. It's good enough to still take, but still worse so you don't see more of them than animal companions.


It's just Paizo dropping the ball. Again.

Spoiler:
Luckily Dragonrider is a good class and quite balanced. Sorry for the PFS players. :/

Grand Lodge

Things is its worth what you give up since as a Paladin you can have an awesome mount and keep all your amazing powers rather than trade it for a sub par animal companion. The only thing this has above a horse is the flavor


Yeah, as far as the Drake-based archetypes go, Paladins give up a lot less than the others. You can can get extra mercies with a feat, channel the two auras aren't especially great, and channel energy is just icing most of the time anyways. The Drake also gets mount for free, which is more than the Cavalier ((The freaking mounted class!)) gets.


So far, I'm thinking about the following revisions.

You trade out:

  • divine bond (obviously)
  • channel energy
  • the three mercies
  • aura of righteousness
  • You get one fewer spell per level, but add the new spells rather than replacing the whole list.

In exchange, you get a drake which has the following changes:

  • 2 more dex to ever so slightly balance out the losses from size increases
  • 4 more natural armor, bringing it in line with the natural armor of a horse.
  • Medium at level 5.
  • At level 11, the drake gets smite evil 1/day, and resistance 10 to its chosen breath weapon energy type.

Powers are now granted every three levels, and the following changes are made:

  • Glide now comes for free, and air drakes get flight as their bonus power.
  • Flight power prerequisites are 2 levels lower.
  • Every drake gets a free, at-will, single target touch attack "breath weapon" that does 1d6 energy damage, 30 ft range, 1d4 round cooldown.
  • The actual breath weapon power does 1d6 damage for every two levels you posses, and is usable twice a day. Improved and greater increase the radius as normal and raise it to 5 and 9 uses a day respectively.
  • There is a 1d4 at medium claw attack power, and a subsequent grab power for those claws available starting at level 11.
  • There is an extra powers feat


Really, all you need is the Extra Powers feat, everything else is just a bonus.

Having some way to let a drake wear barding would be nice.


Tyinyk wrote:
Really, all you need is the Extra Powers feat, everything else is just a bonus.

If you are only referring to the powers tweaks, then yes, that would probably bring it up to "not horrible." But I think it is still better with the other things as well. The drake needs more flavor and a buff, and there just aren't enough powers on the list as it stands now.

I also like giving them the spitball and glide because it means that every drake has an element at level 1, and can be ridden by an appropriately sized character. It isn't a huge power increase, but it feels much more like a little dragon this way.

Quote:
Having some way to let a drake wear barding would be nice.

They get feats. Can't they just spend one on armor proficiency?


When I want to make a dragonrider, I use Familiar or Leadership to gain a Faerie Dragon or Pseudodragon, and then use Form of the Dragon to make them big enough to ride when I need that.

Technically this works on any familiar or mount. :)


Drake Companion wrote:
While drake companions enjoy accumulating hoards of shiny treasure, they adamantly refuse to wear barding, armor, or clothing items of any kind (belts, boots, and so on); they can wear magical jewelry such as amulets or rings but will agree to wear only one such item.

This strikes me not as a matter of proficiency, but a baseline prohibition of drakes wearing anything except one piece of magic jewelry. You could probably talk your GM into letting you spend a feat on it, but as written, they simply won't.


Although it invokes companions, it's obviously built on a nerfed eidolon chassis. They even copied the goofy armor restriction. I suspect most drakes end up as wand monkeys until late levels.

It may be worthwhile to give it a weapon proficiency too. He'll do a lot more damage with a huge greatsword.


Tyinyk wrote:
Drake Companion wrote:
While drake companions enjoy accumulating hoards of shiny treasure, they adamantly refuse to wear barding, armor, or clothing items of any kind (belts, boots, and so on); they can wear magical jewelry such as amulets or rings but will agree to wear only one such item.
This strikes me not as a matter of proficiency, but a baseline prohibition of drakes wearing anything except one piece of magic jewelry. You could probably talk your GM into letting you spend a feat on it, but as written, they simply won't.

Huh. That line does not appear on the Nethys drake page.

I would either remove the restriction, or up the natural armor to compensate. Removing the restriction seems like the more reasonable option, but it does bring up the issue of sizing. Drakes increase in size several times, and huge armor isn't cheap. Natural armor would cause fewer headaches, but would be less balanced.

Screw it, by the time the thing gets huge, you can afford to pay for the tailoring. Lifting the barding restriction is added to the list of proposed changes.


I think that's the best course as well.


Azten wrote:

It's just Paizo dropping the ball. Again.

** spoiler omitted **

Lots of things Dragonriders are... like many third party classes, balanced isn't one of them.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Lots of things Dragonriders are... like many third party classes, balanced isn't one of them.

Honestly, their balance seems ok. My big objection is that they are dull. The dragon is great, but the PC himself gets so little of interest. It's almost like playing a dragon character with a human pet.

...

Anyway

To summarize, here's the fully revised archetype and drake:

Silver Champion:

Spoiler:
Drake Mount: At 5th level, a silver champion gains a drake companion. The drake companion gains the mount drake power as a bonus power. At level 11, the drake gains smite evil 1/day and resistance 10 to the energy type used by its breath weapon. However, a silver champion doesn’t gain mercies at 6th, 12th, and 18th levels.

This ability replaces divine bond, channel energy and aura of righteousness, and alters mercy.

Dragon Magic: The silver champion adds the following spells to her spell list: animate rope, command, expeditious retreat, floating disk, longstrider, magic fang, align Weapon (good/law), animal trance, castigate, locate object, wood shape, draconic rservoir, fly, magic fang (greater), rebuke, stone shape, dimension door, dragon's breath, holy smite, locate creature, minor creation, order's wrath, and poison. A silver champion casts one fewer spell of each level than normal. If this reduces the number to less than 0, she can’t cast spells of that level.

This ability modifies the paladin’s spellcasting.

Drake

Spoiler:

Drake companions follow the original table, except that drake powers are now granted at levels 3,6,9,12,15 and 18.

Level 1 Stats:

  • Size: Small
  • Alignment: any
  • Speed: 20 ft.
  • Attack: bite (1d4)
  • Ability Scores: Str 12, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 4, Wis 10, Cha 7
  • Natural Armor: +4
  • Languages: Draconic.

    Equipment and Magic Items: Drakes are not proficient with armor but can take armor proficiency feats. Drakes have the following magic item slots: Armor, belt (saddle), chest, eyes, headband, neck, ring, wrist.

    Breath Weapon Powers: All drakes start with the lesser breath weapon power. The subsequent breath weapon powers use the same energy type as the lesser breath weapon, and do 1d6 damage for every 2 levels (minimum 1). Breath weapon and it's subsequent powers do not replace lesser breath weapon. Breath weapon is now usable twice a day, improved breath weapon is usable 5 times per day, and greater breath weapon is usable 9 times per day.

    Flight Powers: All drakes gain the glide power at level 1. Air drakes receive flight as a bonus power. In addition, flight no longer has a level requirement, improved flight requires level 6, and greater flight requires level 12.

    New powers

  • Lesser Breath Weapon:The drake chooses acid, cold, electricity, or fire. It gains a breath weapon that fires a tiny glob of energy, inflicting 1d6 points of the chosen energy type on a single target within 30 feet after making a successful touch attack. This power may be used at will, but must wait 1d4 rounds between uses.
  • Claws: The drake gains a pair of secondary claw attacks that do 1d3 damage at small size.
  • Grab: The drake's claw attacks gain the grab quality. The drake's charge must be at least 11th level to select this power.
  • Tail: The drake gains a secondary tail attack that does 1d4 damage at small size.
  • Trip: The drake's tail attack gains the trip quality. The drake's charge must be at least 9th level to select this power

    New Feats

  • Boon Drake: The abilities of your drake companion are calculated as though your drake granting class were 4 levels higher, to a maximum effective class level equal to your character level.
  • Extra Drake Powers:Your drake gains gains an extra power. Prerequisite: Drake companion, level 3
  • So, does this seem reasonable? Any objections?


    I'd up the level requirement of Improved Flight up to level 7, since being able to get a flying mount at level six is a bit early.

    The tail attack they come with is already secondary, as well.

    Everything else seems good, though the visual of a drake wearing a headband is hilarious to me.


    I went with 6 because it lines up with the power ever three levels. And the drake is still medium size, so it is not terribly different from the ten or so animal companions that fly and start medium or advance to medium at level 4.

    The tail attack is listed in powers because I removed it from the base form. I wanted the claw attack power, but I didn't like the idea of them having four attacks at extremely low level, at least, not without some investment. The free ranged attack and additional powers should more than make up for it.


    Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
    It's a fair trade once you get up to a decent level, you just can't expect to be a dragon riding hero at level 1.

    I can't agree at all. Like most of the other archetypes it dramatically overvalues how good the companion actually is.

    For some reason, LoD treats drake companions as if they're incredibly strong, when almost universally they are never actually any better than regular animal companions.

    QuidEst wrote:
    I'm glad. If it were an even trade, we'd see tons of drake companions. It's good enough to still take, but still worse so you don't see more of them than animal companions.

    So what, the archetype should be intentionally punitive because some people might like the idea?

    Talk about vindictive game design.


    Here's one way to fix the Silver Champion:

    Drake Mount (Ex): At 5th level, a silver champion gains a drake companion. Unlike a standard companion, the drake is either Medium (for a Small champions) or Large (for Medium champions), following the drake companion's increased size rules. The drake mount does not increase in size regardless of the drakerider's level. The drake mount may increase its size by one category instead of selecting a drake power. However, a silver champion doesn’t gain additional uses per day of smite evil at 4th, 10th, and 16th levels, and doesn’t gain mercies at 6th, 12th, and 18th levels. Also, the drake mount's alignment is within one step of Apsu's, which is Lawful Good, Neutral Good or Lawful Neutral.


    Their value isn't in raw combat power, but in action economy. Like an eidolon, they are intelligent creatures with the power of speech. And they have use magic device on their skill list. They start with 3 skills per level and can boost it to 5 with an "evolution", or to 6 with a second "evolution".


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    If you want a wand-monkey, you can get a familiar on basically any class without giving up as much.
    If you want extra action economy, you can get an animal companion on most classes without giving up as much.


    The drake is all in one though. It can be a wand monkey and skill monkey that also fights. It's also not tethered to you, so it can act independently. So you can trust it take care of something miles away while you are doing something else.


    Makeitstop wrote:
    Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
    Lots of things Dragonriders are... like many third party classes, balanced isn't one of them.

    Honestly, their balance seems ok. My big objection is that they are dull. The dragon is great, but the PC himself gets so little of interest. It's almost like playing a dragon character with a human pet.

    What class were you looking at? Besides the immensely valuable dragon companion it comes with.

    1. D10 Hit dice and the full martial BAB progression that comes with it. Martial proficiency with one ranged and one melee weapon.

    2. 4 levels of spellcasting... from the arcane sorcerer/wizard list at that.

    3. Lowlight vision AND darkvision. Blindsense, and scent.

    4. Innate energy resistance.

    If you can't make an interesting character with those tools alone, the problem is not the class.


    master_marshmallow wrote:
    What feats do drakes get access to that regular mounts wouldn't?

    Monster feats that they would qualify for, that others would not.. such as Hover. Improved overrun etc.


    Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
    Makeitstop wrote:
    Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
    Lots of things Dragonriders are... like many third party classes, balanced isn't one of them.

    Honestly, their balance seems ok. My big objection is that they are dull. The dragon is great, but the PC himself gets so little of interest. It's almost like playing a dragon character with a human pet.

    What class were you looking at? Besides the immensely valuable dragon companion it comes with.

    1. D10 Hit dice and the full martial BAB progression that comes with it. Martial proficiency with one ranged and one melee weapon.

    2. 4 levels of spellcasting... from the arcane sorcerer/wizard list at that.

    3. Lowlight vision AND darkvision. Blindsense, and scent.

    4. Innate energy resistance.

    If you can't make an interesting character with those tools alone, the problem is not the class.

    Weaker companion than an Eidolon and some Animal companions(looking at you, tiger and Deinonychus) plus the worst action economy than anything in the game makes it pretty balanced.


    Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:


    What class were you looking at? Besides the immensely valuable dragon companion it comes with.

    1. D10 Hit dice and the full martial BAB progression that comes with it. Martial proficiency with one ranged and one melee weapon.

    2. 4 levels of spellcasting... from the arcane sorcerer/wizard list at that.

    3. Lowlight vision AND darkvision. Blindsense, and scent.

    4. Innate energy resistance.

    If you can't make an interesting character with those tools alone, the problem is not the class.

    I am making a distinction between interesting and useful. Those are all useful, but none of them make me want to play the class. They aren't exciting and flavorful. Compare their stuff with, say, a paladin getting smite evil and lay on hands, or an alchemist getting mutagens and bombs.

    Good numbers are not interesting. Unique or unusual abilities and actions are interesting. Better senses could be part of an interesting class, and even 1/4 casting is still casting, but the package just doesn't come together into something compelling.

    I could make an interesting character out of it, but then, I could make an interesting commoner. That doesn't make commoner an interesting class.


    Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
    master_marshmallow wrote:
    What feats do drakes get access to that regular mounts wouldn't?
    Monster feats that they would qualify for, that others would not.. such as Hover. Improved overrun etc.

    Do any of said feats offer some sort of niche build that helps? Is there anything one could do to Enlarge their drake companion (via spells, feats, or other abilities)?

    Seems like combining Combat Reflexes with Draconic Defender is a nice combo since your drake can use the Aid Another action to make a melee attack roll (incurring the penalty from Combat Expertise) vs. AC 10 to add a bunch to your AC for some nice tankyness.

    Early drake builds seem to want to optimize in this manner so the drake isn't useless for those levels.

    EDIT: it ins't touched on whether or not Ioun Stones work with drakes. It'll be expensive, but one could theoretically enhance its stats that way as well.


    Makeitstop wrote:
    Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:


    What class were you looking at? Besides the immensely valuable dragon companion it comes with.

    1. D10 Hit dice and the full martial BAB progression that comes with it. Martial proficiency with one ranged and one melee weapon.

    2. 4 levels of spellcasting... from the arcane sorcerer/wizard list at that.

    3. Lowlight vision AND darkvision. Blindsense, and scent.

    4. Innate energy resistance.

    If you can't make an interesting character with those tools alone, the problem is not the class.

    I am making a distinction between interesting and useful. Those are all useful, but none of them make me want to play the class. They aren't exciting and flavorful. Compare their stuff with, say, a paladin getting smite evil and lay on hands, or an alchemist getting mutagens and bombs.

    Good numbers are not interesting. Unique or unusual abilities and actions are interesting. Better senses could be part of an interesting class, and even 1/4 casting is still casting, but the package just doesn't come together into something compelling.

    I could make an interesting character out of it, but then, I could make an interesting commoner. That doesn't make commoner an interesting class.

    I feel you are by far and wide underestimating the usefulness of that spell list, and the narrative power it entitles the player to (aka being interesting).


    I'm not saying it isn't useful. And interesting characters are not the same as interesting classes.

    The spell casting is by far the best part of the class outside the dragon and the capstone, but it isn't that compelling. it's useful, certainly, but isn't exactly blowing my skirt up.

    Look at it this way, take away all the class features of a bard, magus, or bloodrager, and don't even let them have their own spell list, just thrust them onto an existing list. Is that class still useful? Sure, to an extent. But it will be extremely dull compared to the original. That's what the dragonrider feels like to me.


    Makeitstop wrote:

    I'm not saying it isn't useful. And interesting characters are not the same as interesting classes.

    The spell casting is by far the best part of the class outside the dragon and the capstone, but it isn't that compelling. it's useful, certainly, but isn't exactly blowing my skirt up.

    Look at it this way, take away all the class features of a bard, magus, or bloodrager, and don't even let them have their own spell list, just thrust them onto an existing list. Is that class still useful? Sure, to an extent. But it will be extremely dull compared to the original. That's what the dragonrider feels like to me.

    Certainly, you are entitled to your opinion, and I support and respect that you seemingly don't like the class as is.

    But to answer the question, If I were to compare the class features of say, the bard to the dragonrider I am inclined to have to say that all of bardic performance is comparable to all of the qualities available to the dragon steed. The dragon steed loses most of its spell like abilities, but overall has superior stats (ability scores, saves, natural armor, BAB, size, etc.) to any animal companion, can speak, and has a breath weapon and SLAs that come online later, I would say the dragonrider has the superior class features, by a lot. While the bard is a more potent spellcaster, the difference in the spell lists makes this a hard comparison. Really, the dragonrider may still win solely on the virtue of access to more wide varieties of spells available, even if they aren't taken as spells known (for spell trigger and completion items). It's a poorly written section, since technically even the spell levels they don't have access to via their class spellcasting is still on their list RAW and by that interpretation even 5th+ level spells are available to the class via scrolls and other magic items without a UMD check. This matters. Combining the skills for both the steed and the dragonrider actually may end up being about even, as the dragon steed base plus the base of the rider equals the number of ranks bards get. Versatile Performance notwithstanding (as dragon steeds naturally gain a bonus to INT through their progression which translates to more skills by its text). Both can cast in light armor.

    Compare the dragon mount to a bloodrager's bloodline, and you end up with more or less the same thing- the dragonrider is superior because of the mount: more skills, better spells, more utility, more damage. They get medium armor, but most don't bother since movement matters when you don't have a mount or armor training. Mithral makes this matter, so it's important to note. Arcane Bloodragers could make a case, since they get more action efficiency than any other class with regards to spellcasting and self buffing. Overall, the bloodrager is inferior on the basis that the floor and ceiling are both lower, even if actual gameplay ends up with comparable characters in power level.

    The magus actually may be a contender. Eventually, it'll get to cast in heavy armor. Action Economy is of course the name of the magus's game, and their access to the same spell list (via magus arcana or their own class feature later on) make the spell lists comparable. Skills are comparable thanks to being an INT based class. Damage is comparable thanks to spellstrike and spellcombat. If one were to say that a magus has more to offer than a dragonrider by its class features, you wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but not for the right reasons. Most of the magus class features come in the form of doing spellstrike/combat better over the course of its career, and gaining magus arcana for flavor. Of all the classes you listed, it's the only one that really has choices beyond first level which may or may not qualify it as "more interesting" as far as builds and versatility go.

    EDIT: On-topic, has anyone else noticed that drake companions are all non-good? How does this affect the paladin I wonder.........


    I noticed that also. It seems strange to me that you wouldn't be allowed to have a good pet drake. How am I supposed to ride Falcore now?


    Quote:
    The dragon steed loses most of its spell like abilities, but overall has superior stats (ability scores, saves, natural armor, BAB, size, etc.) to any animal companion

    That's decidedly untrue. For its specific niche it basically always loses to the giant vulture and it only ever really trumps a traditional paladin/cavalier mount when it gets flying. Even then you're not really getting much more mileage out of it than you would with a monstrous mount, which only costs one feat compared to the rather devastating cost the drake archetypes incur.

    Incidentally, as bad as the silver champion is, I think cavaliers get it a lot worse here, losing all of their teamwork feats and banner and pushing charge back to level 9 for the drake and nothing else.


    The archetype basically changes the paladin from a 2+int skill class to a pseudo 5+int skill class, with the possibility of going to pseudo 7 or 8+int. And it removes any need for handle animal, freeing up another skill point. On top of that, the drake can use magic device to cast alter self, allowing it to make it into tight parts of dungeons with you. The possibility of a burrow speed also increases the places you can take and use the drake.

    To me the worst parts of the archetype is that you don't have the share spells ability with the drake and there aren't a lot of good spells for buffing dragons.


    I thought the dragon rider was an April fools joke. Intentionally overpowered.


    swoosh wrote:
    Quote:
    The dragon steed loses most of its spell like abilities, but overall has superior stats (ability scores, saves, natural armor, BAB, size, etc.) to any animal companion

    That's decidedly untrue. For its specific niche it basically always loses to the giant vulture and it only ever really trumps a traditional paladin/cavalier mount when it gets flying. Even then you're not really getting much more mileage out of it than you would with a monstrous mount, which only costs one feat compared to the rather devastating cost the drake archetypes incur.

    Incidentally, as bad as the silver champion is, I think cavaliers get it a lot worse here, losing all of their teamwork feats and banner and pushing charge back to level 9 for the drake and nothing else.

    I was talking about the 3PP dragonrider class.


    My point about the dragonrider wasn't that I didn't think the class was any good, it was that the dragon was great but the human (or whatever) is blah. It's playing some guy WITH A DRAGON! I feel like I'm playing the sidekick rather than the hero.

    That's why I'm so much more interesting in fixing the drake archetypes. You take a class which is already fun and flavorful, and add a dragon to the mix.

    master_marshmallow wrote:
    On-topic, has anyone else noticed that drake companions are all non-good? How does this affect the paladin I wonder.........

    Yup, that was weird. Since the paladin archetype didn't specifically overrule that, I would have to assume that means that the mount cannot be good, and could even potentially be chaotic evil.

    I made sure to change it to any alignment in my revised version earlier in the thread.

    Silver Crusade

    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    The Paladin's Drake can be LN, N, or possibly even CN, the Silver Champion still keeps the normal Paladin's Code of Conduct of not allying with Evil creatures.


    I never said it was a good idea, but the rules don't forbid it either.

    Silver Crusade

    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Uh, yeah they do.

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