Fixing the Drake Companion Archetypes


Homebrew and House Rules


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The drake archetypes are known to be utter crap. I've spent quite a bit of time working on a fix for the silver champion paladin, and in the process fixed the drake as well. With that done, I tried my hand at fixing the archetypes as well. You can see it all here.

I will say that I am more confident in the drake and silver champion than the other archetypes. I certainly think they are better than the originals, but I wouldn't be surprised if you guys saw ways to improve them.


What book are you revising?


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These were all in legacy of the dragon. Here's the originals:

Drake Companion

Silver Champion Paladin

Draconic Druid

Drake Rider Cavlier

Drake Warden Ranger

Dragon Shaman

Shadow Lodge

Oh, good!

I think some of these might now be too powerful, particularly the paladin & cavalier which don't give up much aside from their mount (and the Drake now looks distinctly more powerful than a typical mount, though I have to stat one up when I have time).

If I'm correct, the Drake can now reach gargantuan size. That seems like too much to me - though I like having it start small instead of tiny.


Weirdo wrote:

Oh, good!

I think some of these might now be too powerful, particularly the paladin & cavalier which don't give up much aside from their mount (and the Drake now looks distinctly more powerful than a typical mount, though I have to stat one up when I have time).

If I'm correct, the Drake can now reach gargantuan size. That seems like too much to me - though I like having it start small instead of tiny.

Gargantuan size doesn't bother me, especially at level 17. Compared to other high level shenanigans going on, a gargantuan mount is nothing.

However, I do have a stat comparison for the original drake that can be updated to reflect the new drake. It shows the base stat difference between a paladin getting a horse, a roc, 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

Revised Drake

Spoiler:

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

DEFENSE

AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed +18 (+2 Dex, +8 natural)
hp 34 (4d12+8)
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +4
immunities: sleep, paralysis

OFFENSE

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

STATISTICS

Str 16, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 4, Wis 10, Cha 7
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 19 (23 vs. trip)

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

Revised Drake (level 12)

Spoiler:

Drake companion
N Large dragon
Init +1; Senses low-light vision, darkvision

DEFENSE

AC 23, touch 10, flat-footed +23 (+1 Dex, +14 natural, -1 size)
hp 85 (9d12+27)
Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +6
Resistance 10 (breath weapon energy type)
immunities: sleep, paralysis

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +13 (1d8+5),
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

STATISTICS

Str 20, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 4, Wis 10, Cha 7
Base Atk +9; CMB +15; CMD 26 (30 vs. trip)
SQ: Smite evil 1/day

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 (level 18)

Spoiler:

Drake companion
N Gargantuan dragon
Init -1; Senses low-light vision, darkvision

DEFENSE

AC 25, touch 5, flat-footed +28 (-1 Dex, +22 natural, -4 size)
hp 152 (14d12+68)
Fort +14, Ref +8, Will +9
Resistance 10 (breath weapon energy type)
immunities: sleep, paralysis

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +19 (3d6+9),
Space 20 ft.; Reach 15 ft.

STATISTICS

Str 28, Dex 9, Con 21, Int 4, Wis 10, Cha 7
Base Atk +14; CMB +27; CMD 36 (40 vs. trip)
SQ: Smite evil 1/day

Based on this breakdown, I'd say that paladin's are getting a fairly even trade. The animal companions get better AC, more resistances, damage reduction 10 and spell resistance, plus link, share spells, devotion, evasion, improved evasion and multiattack. Drakes will get to gargantuan size and get more health (I could see dropping the base con by 2, just to even it out a bit), plus their powers, which are nice.

Obviously other classes don't get the celestial template and spell resistance on their animal companions, so that will skew things.

While the other classes are trading enough in my opinion, you may be right about the cavalier. Giving up tactician seemed harsh to me, but replacing it with free teamwork feats probably isn't harsh enough, even when you account for the fact that a medium cavalier can't ride his mount until level 9. I suppose I could just cut tactician altogether and call it even

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I must quibble with your first statement "It's a well-known fact that the drake archetypes are really bad."

I am not seeing many complaints on these boards. How are you justifying such a sweeping statement?

Spoiler:
I don't actually disagree with you - the archetypes are inferior - but your opening statement is unduly sweeping.


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Lord Fyre wrote:

I must quibble with your first statement "It's a well-known fact that the drake archetypes are really bad."

I am not seeing many complaints on these boards. How are you justifying such a sweeping statement? ** spoiler omitted **

I've seen it discussed here and several other places, and every time it comes up, the consensus is that they are garbage. Sure, sometimes there will be a tiny minority that says it isn't so bad, but the vast majority have always found it to be disappointing.

Hell, the best defense I've ever seen of the drake archetypes is that they ought to be crap, because anything that cool would be too popular if you didn't make people pay dearly for it.

The fact is, the drake, as published, is inferior to an animal companion. And the archetypes give up half their class features for that inferior substitute.


a quick bit of advice for making a workable drake, even without revisions.

for paladin:

Water drake-
Free drake power (swim)
1st drake power (intellect)
2nd drake power (breath weapon (acid))
Free drake power (mount)
3rd drake power (improved swim)
4th drake power (keen mind)
5th drake power (scent)
Skill points-
Maxed preception, maxed swim. Spread the rest as you deem fit. Can end up being the smart one in the party with a bunch of knowladge skills.

Feats-
While not strictly required, deific obeince (iori) is grest for this. But, one could argue the drake would never worship a deity, so this is up in the air if it's allowed.
Versatile obedience gets you acess to 1/day haste, and let's you get it sooner.
Noxious bite- a cornerstone of all my drake builds. Every bite is a fort save or become more or less useless for 1+the drake's con rounds. Really good.

Required feats for the paladin-
Unsactioned knowladge-
The 1st, second, and fourth level spells don't matter. But you want sky swim as your third level spell.
Mounted comabt and trick riding- this is how you prevent your sub-par ac from destroying your drake.

for cavalier:

Air drake-
(free) Glide
1st- acid breath weapon
2nd- mount
3rd- flight
4th- improved flight/improved mount
5th- improved flight/greater flight
Feats-
Noxious bite
Improved unarmed strike
Dodge
Toughness
Crane style
Draconic defender

Required feats for rider-
Mounted comabt, trick rider

Silver Crusade

Makeitstop wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:

I must quibble with your first statement "It's a well-known fact that the drake archetypes are really bad."

I am not seeing many complaints on these boards. How are you justifying such a sweeping statement? ** spoiler omitted **

I've seen it discussed here and several other places, and every time it comes up, the consensus is that they are garbage. Sure, sometimes there will be a tiny minority that says it isn't so bad, but the vast majority have always found it to be disappointing.

Hell, the best defense I've ever seen of the drake archetypes is that they ought to be crap, because anything that cool would be too popular if you didn't make people pay dearly for it.

The fact is, the drake, as published, is inferior to an animal companion. And the archetypes give up half their class features for that inferior substitute.

I'm in absolute agreement, because I have one, a fellow player has a drake rider Cavalier in a current group and he is utterly useless.

Worse than that - he is a liability who does nothing but eat charges from the CLW wand. Much of my buffing has to go to him too. The only class feature he has remaining is his Order.

I'll send your suggestions to our GM. They are terrible, dreadful archetypes.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

0o0o0 O 0o0o0 wrote:
Makeitstop wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:

I must quibble with your first statement "It's a well-known fact that the drake archetypes are really bad."

I am not seeing many complaints on these boards. How are you justifying such a sweeping statement? ** spoiler omitted **

I've seen it discussed here and several other places, and every time it comes up, the consensus is that they are garbage. Sure, sometimes there will be a tiny minority that says it isn't so bad, but the vast majority have always found it to be disappointing.

Hell, the best defense I've ever seen of the drake archetypes is that they ought to be crap, because anything that cool would be too popular if you didn't make people pay dearly for it.

The fact is, the drake, as published, is inferior to an animal companion. And the archetypes give up half their class features for that inferior substitute.

I'm in absolute agreement, because I have one, a fellow player has a drake rider Cavalier in a current group and he is utterly useless.

Worse than that - he is a liability who does nothing but eat charges from the CLW wand. Much of my buffing has to go to him too. The only class feature he has remaining is his Order.

I'll send your suggestions to our GM. They are terrible, dreadful archetypes.

Now, I am seeing more people coming out to complain. That wasn't the case before.

Note, my initial disagreement was only with the sweeping statement. I do agree that the archetypes are inferior in almost every way.

Silver Crusade

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Perhaps it is because Legacy of Dragons is fairly new, Lord Fyre, perhaps not everyone has formed an opinion or seen one in action. Certainly no frequent poster on these boards would be mad enough to play one, for they are very poor. I imagine op made the sweeping statement for dramatic effect, though when you ask people directly they must come to the conclusion they are bad. In my gaming group 5 out of 6 people all decry the uselessness of the Drake Rider Cavalier, we and the GM realise he just drags the group down. It's so bad the PC is actively detrimental. The number 6 player is a newbie and doesn't understand.

And I don't understand it. The book is generally well written and the art is terrific as per usual Paizo standards. The new Draconic bloodlines are a good idea and well-written. The Scaled Claw Cha-based Monk fills a vital gap. Many options are interesting. And then comes these drake archetypes. Lord Fyre - you have entered RPG Superstar and if you had submitted these archetypes you'd have been laughed out of the competition.

I do wonder what the design decision was.

OP has come up with good fixes, but it won't help PFS so we can't now ride drakes in PFS and that is the real shame. I do mean that sweeping statement - the earliest you can ride a flying Drake is 11 if you are small and neither you nor it will ever survive that long anyway, having given up all your class features.


I really don't think the original drake rider is unplayable.

It's not the greatest, but...

Well, here.

a loose seven level plan:

Race- human
20 point buy
STR: 18 DEX: 13 CON: 16 INT: 7 WIS: 7 CHA: 14
Skills per level - 3

Level 1-
Feats-
Power attack, furious focus.

Traits-
Sound of mind,

Equipment-
Chainmail, greatclub, 5 gp.

Order-
Order of the sword

level 1 damage w power attack-
1d10+9
Level 1 to hit-
+5
Level 1 ac - 17.

Level 1 drake-
Air drake-
Glide
Feats-
Improved unarmed strike

Not going to bother with stats- for this level, the drake basically just needs to hide.

Level 2-
Rider-
Basically the same as level 1, but with 2 more will save, 1 more to hit.
Trade greatclub for masterwork greatsword if at all possible.

Drake-
Basically the same as level 1.

Level 3-
Rider-
New feat-
Mounted combat

New Equipment-
Full plate

Drake-
Drake power-
Breath weapon (acid)
Feat-
Noxious bite

Drake can now trigger a 4d6 damge 10 foot burst of acid 1/day, and has a bite attack that, on a failed DC 11 save, nauseates the target for one round. Still should mostly hide.

Level 4-
Basically the same as level 4.
Get enchanted stuff.
Power attack increases by 3.

Level 5-
finally.
This is when the drake gets stronger. Much stronger.

Rider-
Iron will

Drake-
Size increase. Drake now matters in combat.
Drake has reach.
Increase con to 14.
Natural armor is 4. STR is 12.
To hit is +5, dealing 1d6+1+1 acid. Fort save DC 14 vs nauseated for 2 rounds.
AC total is 17. (10+1 size+2 dex+4 natural armor)
DC 14 4d6 breath weapon to finish low hp enemies.
Still need to be careful with it.

Level 6-

Rider- bouns feat
Ride by attack

Drake-
Feat-
Dodge

Ac goes up to 20

Level 7
You get the ability to mount your drake, albeit at a -5 for it being ill suited for you.
You'll need a way to be small sized to do so.

Cavalier-
+2 morale to hit when riding.
Trade your weapon for a lance.
Feat- trick riding

Drake-
When the Drake is hit, twice a round, it can be negated by a good ride check.

Level 8-
Free spirited charge, no more penalty to ride from armor, drake's STR to damage on a charge, +4 to ac vs attack set Agaisnt a charge.

Drake-
Nothing new.

Level 9-
Drake gets medium size.
Str becomes 16, con 16.
DC of nauseated save is now 17.
To hit is +10.
Feat-
Crane style

Ac is 22, +4 when used with fighting defensively if 5 ranks in acrobatics.

The drake rider has a really hard time early on, but it gets much stronger later in the game. For the first few levels, you play a lot more like a two handed fighter, and act like the drake doesn't really exist.

Nauseating bite is one of the main draws of a drake, the attack being able to put creatures out of commison for multiple rounds.


... Dispite me playing devil's advocate a bit, I do like the idea of buffing the archtype.

I just don't think it's unplayable, any more then, say, core rouge is.

Sure, it's bad. But it's far from unplayable if you work with it.

Silver Crusade

Fair enough, and your optimised build is good, but that it requires such stringent optimisation is telling.

It's a trap choice for new players. The guy I play with is new, and borrowed the Legacy of Dragons book from another of our group because of the cool pictures and stuff - the Dragons in D&D. That's what he likes, that's what appeals, and it's understandable as a new player. He wants to ride a Drake and he wants to wield a katana.

Yes, we all know these are poor options, but it's easy to see how a new player might think they are awesome. And we believe in learning from mistakes, we are not going to build his PC for him, it's a game he'll only return to, only become truly involved in once he has that vibe and feel for the system learning for yourself gives.

It's that which annoys me about Drakerider. It's not only utter crap, it's utter crap which is superficially inviting and seems like a good idea at the time and potentially makes the game less fun for a newbie whose expectations cannot match the unhappy reality.


Perhaps show him the Dragonrider? Based on some of the people I've seen talking about it, it looks a lot more powerful on paper than it is in play.

Silver Crusade

This is actually something which I'm keeping an eye on myself, since I'm looking to increase the power of these beasties.

Shadow Lodge

The issue with gargantuan size isn't so much power as it is logistics. A large mount can occasionally be inconvenient to get into adventure areas - this is a big enough issue that small mounted builds (with medium mounts) are often recommended. I have a hard time seeing a gargantuan drake getting into any indoor adventuring encounter.

I would recommend doing something similar to the animal companion - give the option to increase Str and Con by 2 instead of increasing size.

Thanks for the comparisons!

Makeitstop wrote:
Based on this breakdown, I'd say that paladin's are getting a fairly even trade. The animal companions get better AC, more resistances, damage reduction 10 and spell resistance, plus link, share spells, devotion, evasion, improved evasion and multiattack. Drakes will get to gargantuan size and get more health (I could see dropping the base con by 2, just to even it out a bit), plus their powers, which are nice.

I'd forgotten quite how extensive the paladin's mount's resistances get as I've never seen a high-level paladin's mount in play.

However I think this is missing a few points.

The DR doesn't hit 10/Evil until 11 HD, at level 13 (though the resistances also advance to 15 at that point, which you've missed).

The drake is intelligent from level 1. As a result it doesn't need Handle Animal checks, which makes Link irrelevant. It's also not limited by the tricks mechanic and gets three times as many skill points until the mount becomes intelligent at level 11. This gives additional utility, especially since the drake can take any skills including handy class skills like Sense Motive or UMD.

Drakes do also get immunity to sleep and paralysis. That, plus a slightly higher Will save offsets the advantage of Devotion.

Share spells is of variable benefit as cavaliers don't use it at all and the paladin and ranger don't have as many options for buffing a companion as druids or shamans.

The drake's AC starts ahead of the horse and only falls significantly behind at high levels (being only 1 point behind at level 12).

Getting 10ft reach with large size at level 9 is significant.

Lesser breath weapon (a ranged energy attack that hits touch AC) is a big deal at low levels. While the damage is not significant at high levels, I would still expect the flexibility to be a meaningful advantage to the drake until somewhere around level 8-10.

It is not clear whether the drake mount gets smite evil as a celestial creature or smite evil as the paladin. If you mean the former, you should specify, as the latter includes an additional ability to bypass DR (and an AC bonus if the drake's Cha has been increased).

I also think you are dismissing the drake powers a bit readily. They get 7 by level 20 and with your new claw/tail powers can get a 4-attack routine with just two of them (and while they don't get free Multiattack they can take the feat), possibly with additional feats to add trip or grab which are more effective than the roc's with greater size. And with glide free (and flight free for air drakes), you only need two powers to get the best flight available to your drake. On top of this Aether Bite or the Breath Weapon gives them the ability to affect foes that normal animal companions would have a real problem with (ghosts and swarms, respectively), and Blindsense and Intellect/Keen Mind add even more utility.

This is before taking the Noxious Bite feat into account, which as icehawk333 pointed out is extremely good for the drake.

Makeitstop wrote:
While the other classes are trading enough in my opinion, you may be right about the cavalier. Giving up tactician seemed harsh to me, but replacing it with free teamwork feats probably isn't harsh enough, even when you account for the fact that a medium cavalier can't ride his mount until level 9. I suppose I could just cut tactician altogether and call it even

Yeah, based on that comparison cavalier is definitely overpowered since the ordinary mount doesn't get the nice resistances (or the eventual smarts) that the paladin's mount does.

Drake Warden may be in the same boat as the cavalier - no fancy celestial resistances on the normal companion and while the second favoured enemy and favoured terrain are nice, I don't think they make up the difference in the pet's power.

I'm still not sure about the paladin but since they do give up mercies I think it's close enough pending playtesting.

Druid looks OK, as gutting wild shape is a big pain for them.

Shaman... I'm also not so sure about. They're replacing a familiar with a drake, not an animal companion. That means that instead of getting a smarter and more versatile combat pet, they're turning a fragile but smart pet into a combat monster. Diminished spellcasting doesn't feel like enough of a trade to me.

I also feel like the level power curve might be an issue. The drake seems to be a bigger advantage at lower levels (when the AC hasn't tanked and the skills and lesser breath weapon are a bigger deal).


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Alright, I've made some revisions:

After careful consideration, I have decided to take the 6th and 14th level combat style feats from the ranger, and give them diminished casting, slightly offset by getting a wizard spell matching the breath weapon element once every two levels starting at level 5.

Also, took the 4th and 10th level hexes from the shaman.

Finally, due to popular demand, I have added an alternative to size increases. You may now get a +2 to str and dex, and a +10 to base speed if you choose to stay the same size.

This is in addition to the previous changes I made, lowering the base con by 2 and removing the bonus teamwork feats from the cavalier archetype.

Shadow Lodge

Cool, looks balanced enough to offer my players. I'll let you know if anyone tries it and what the results are.

Thanks for putting in the time and effort to fix this concept!


Alright, quick update: I have made a few really minor revisions since the last post in this thread. The main thing is that the Reddit post now has all the powers listed, meaning you should no longer need to reference another source for anything. I've also adjusted level prerequisites on the remaining powers to line up with the revised drake progression.

I'm also hoping to get a real playtest in soon for the silver champion. The character is made, it's just a matter of getting him into the campaign.

Finally, I was considering making some original archetypes at some point. My first thoughts were magus, alchemist, witch, barbarian/bloodrager, and sorcerer/wizard/arcanist. I don't have any specific plans yet, it's just something I would probably do when the urge strikes and I have the free time.

If anyone is interested, I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Hell, if anyone wants to make their own archetype, I would be willing to add a section for archetypes from others as well.

Shadow Lodge

Maybe the alchemist could give up mutagen and poison resistance? With the intention of the build be that you throw bombs from the back of your mount.


I was actually kind of thinking that the alchemist could give up bombs and throw anything, and have a mutagen that gives him draconic traits, including a breath weapon, which could potentially be improved with certain bomb discoveries.


Good to see some free reddited drake stuff out there. ;)


Well, been playing my silver champion paladin (currently level 6) for a little while now. So far so good. We actually have a vanilla paladin in the party as well, so the comparisons are pretty easy.

The extra spells on the list are nice but definitely don't make up for the loss of a spell per level. I've had a couple of situations come up where the spell I chose not to prepare was exactly the spell I ended up needing.

In terms of other class abilities, I'm less useful as a healer. The other paladin makes routine use of channel energy and has gotten to use mercies while I have not. I can keep myself standing (gotta love that tiefling favored class bonus) but for others, my lay on hands are for emergency use only.

But let's be honest, all we really wanna know is how the drake is working out.

I went with an air drake and acid lesser breath weapon. For powers, I get mount and glide for free, and chose flight, claws and intellect.

While it is nice that he has the skills, it's still not been enough to make him a skill monkey. For the most part, it's just enough to make up for my deficiencies in bluff (a necessity since we've had to use magic to hide the fact that he's a dragon), perception and sense motive, and to allow him to fly. For everything else, I chose to just cover his bases in case the need or opportunity arose, but he's not particularly good at anything.

In combat, his most useful ability has been flight. I can ride him, and he can fly, but we can't do both at the same time yet. So for the most part, I've been staying on foot and letting him take advantage of his mobility. Not anything that another flying animal companion couldn't do (in fact, theoretically, I would have been able to ride any other flying companion of at least medium size), but nice nonetheless.

I actually haven't had a situation where it's made sense to use the lesser breath weapon. This is fine, as it's meant to be a pretty weak ability. I'm sure a situation will arise where he needs to keep his distance or faces an opponent who is weaker to acid than physical attacks.

The difference between his performance and that of the other paladin's giant hedgehog (mechanically a horse) has been negligible. I believe the hedgehog has a slightly higher attack with it's bite, and damage with everything, while my drake has more accurate secondary attacks since I actually took multiattack which she's waiting to get for free.

Now, for the sake of transparency, here's the drake stats:

Quote:

Size: Medium

Type: Drake, (air)
Senses: Darkvision 60 ft, Low-light vision
Alignment: Neutral
Speed: base 30 ft, fly 40 ft (clumsy)
Languages: Draconic, Common, Celestial

Ability Scores: Str 16, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 7

HP: 37 (5 hd)
AC 23, touch 13, flat foot 20
Fort 5, Ref 7, Will 4
Immunities: sleep and paralysis.

BAB: +5
Attack: Bite +8 (1d8+3) Claws x2 +6(1d4+1), Breath weapon +8 (touch attack, 1d6+1 acid)

Skills

*Bluff +6 (5 ranks)
*Fly +3 (5 ranks)
*Heal +4 (1 rank)
*Knowledge Arcana +3 (1 rank)
*Knowledge Nature +3 (1 rank)
*Knowledge Planes +3 (1 rank)
*Knowledge Religion +3 (1 rank)
*Linguistics +5 (2 ranks)
*Perception +8 (5 ranks)
*Sense Motive +8 (5 ranks)
*Spellcraft +3 (1 rank)
*Stealth +7 (1 ranks)
*Swim +7 (1 rank)

Feats: Multiattack, Flyby Attack, Improved Natural Attack (Bite)


Correction to the above post, Flight was one of the free powers (for picking an air drake) not one of the chosen ones. Stupid disappearing edit button.


Alright, so, things are going great with the silver champion I'm playing, and I heard from someone else who played both the original and the revised version of the silver champion that he and his GM also found the revised version to be a far better archetype.

But, the reason I'm posting today is because I've finally gotten around to tinkering with an original archetype for the barbarian. This is essentially a rough draft, and I would love your feedback before going any further with it.

Dragon Rager Barbarian

Spoiler:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Dragon Rager is not proficient with medium armor.

Drake Companion: At first level, a dragon rager bonds with a particularly intelligent drake. She gains a drake companion with the intellect power as a bonus power. If the drake companion dies, the dragon rager loses all benefit from rage save for the strength bonus (attack and damage rolls for unchained barbarians) and any rage powers she may possess until the drake has been revived or replaced. Replacing a drake companion is a difficult process, requiring an hour-long uninterrupted ritual to be performed once per day for 3d12 days, or leveling up, whichever comes first. This replaces the rage powers gained at 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level.

Dragon Rage: A dragon rager draws upon the power and fury of a dragon. While raging she gains a +2 bonus to her existing natural armor (if any) and energy resistance 5 to the energy type associated with her drake's breath weapon (regardless of whether it actually has the breath weapon powers). At level 11, the natural armor bonus increases to +3 and the energy resistance increases to 10. At level 20, the natural armor increases to +4, and the energy resistance becomes energy immunity. The dragon rager does not gain any bonus to will saves while raging, or a constitution increase (or temporary hit points for unchained barbarians). This modifies Rage.

Soulbound Weapon: At 2nd level, the dragon rager gains a magical weapon tied to her drake. This weapon comes with a +1 enhancement bonus, and can be any melee weapon with which the dragon rager is proficient. At 6th level and every four levels thereafter, the enhancement bonus increases by +1. Double weapons must divide the enhancement between the two sides of the weapon, and must have at least a +1 on both ends if possible. With the help of the drake, the enhancement bonus on a double weapon can be redistributed once per day through a one hour ritual. A soulbound weapon cannot be granted additional enhancement bonuses or special abilities by any outside force. Regardless of the type of weapon or enhancement bonus currently on it, the soulbound weapon has a hardness of 20 and 10 hit points + 4 hit points per level. In the hands of anyone who does not have the approval of the drake (including the dragon rager if the drake adamantly opposes her actions) the soulbound weapon loses all magical abilities save for its hardness and hit points. If the drake dies, the soulbound weapon retains its abilities for those who were allowed to use it at the time of the drake's death. If the soulbound weapon is destroyed, it can be replaced after one week with an uninterrupted 24 hour ritual that costs 200gp per level. This ritual can also be used to render the soulbound weapon inert and transfer its power to a new masterwork weapon capable of becoming a soulbound weapon. This replaces Damage Reduction.

Invested Life Force: The life force of the drake is tied to the soulbound weapon. So long as the drake lives and is available to assist, the 24 hour ritual to replace a soulbound weapon can take place at any time, and has no material cost. So long as an intact soulbound weapon is in the dragon rager's possession, the drake can be resurrected through an uninterrupted 24 hour ritual at no cost. While raging and wielding the soulbound weapon, the dragon rager can use this connection to communicate telepathically with her drake in a language they share at a range of up to a mile.

Eyes of the Dragon: At 3rd level, the dragon rager gains low-light vision while raging. At 7th level, she gains darkvision out to 30 feet while raging. At 12th level, she gains darkvision out to 60 feet while raging. If the dragon rager already possesses darkvision, the range of her darkvision increases by the amount granted by this ability while raging. This replaces uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge and indomitable will.

Draconic channeling: The dragon rager learns to add special abilities to her soulbound weapon as a swift action while raging. At 5th level she can apply a single +1 equivalent ability, and every four levels thereafter, the total enhancement bonus equivalence that may be active at a time on the soulbound weapon increases by +1. The dragon rager may choose from the following list of abilities: Anchoring, brilliant energy, corrosive, corrosive burst, dancing, flaming, flaming burst, frost, ghost touch, icy burst, keen, merciful, returning, shock, shocking burst, and vicious. Abilities which add energy damage can only be chosen if they match the dragon rager’s energy resistance from raging, and abilities which require specific weapon types must be compatible with the soulbound weapon. These abilities last for a number of rounds equal to 1/3 the dragon rager’s level, and activating them consumes a number rounds of rage equal to the enhancement bonus value being applied to the soulbound weapon. Each time the dragon rager uses this ability, she may apply any number of abilities, up to the maximum amount amount of enhancement allowed at her level. If the dragon rager ends her rage, these abilities are ended as well. This replaces Trap Sense (danger sense for unchained barbarians).

I'm a little concerned about it being a bit cluttered conceptually, but I really like the flavor. Dragons and magic swords are just two great tastes that taste great together. And I did try to maintain a good balance throughout, which wasn't easy since there were several other things I wanted to include.


Based on advice I received elsewhere, I'm thinking that eyes of the dragon should be moved to 2nd level, while soulbound weapon moves to 3rd level. That way the magic weapon doesn't show up before any PC could possibly afford such a thing, even if it does prevent it from having a nice, uniform progression.


Added three original archetypes, the Dracolyte Inquisitor, the Draconologist Alchemist, and The Dragon Rager Barbarian. I would still appreciate any feedback you guys have on these.


Recent updates: I clarified the silver champion paladin archetype to explicitly state that the smite granted to the drake should function like the smite in the simple celestial template. I also added a new feat for drakes which adds an additional 1d6 damage to the breath weapon and lesser breath weapon.


Awesome work on this. You've made Drake Companion archetypes a playable thing!
The Reddit thread is archived now and people can't post further comments there. I highly recommend making a website for it someplace and getting Herolab support for it, similar to what the people at with "The Elephant in the Room" have done regarding their "Feat Tax" home brew, which is now used by a sizable minority of players.


Put me in the camp of I don't see a problem with huge sized pet even though level 17 looks to be far to late imo, mammoth rider gets huge size pet at like level 9 or 10 (character level not class level).


cap708 wrote:

Awesome work on this. You've made Drake Companion archetypes a playable thing!

The Reddit thread is archived now and people can't post further comments there. I highly recommend making a website for it someplace and getting Herolab support for it, similar to what the people at with "The Elephant in the Room" have done regarding their "Feat Tax" home brew, which is now used by a sizable minority of players.

I... had never considered getting a website, it might be worth looking into. If nothing else, it would give me a place to put all my homebrew in an easy to share and browse format.

As for Herolab, I'd be all for it. That said, I've never used Herolab, so I'm not terribly familiar with it, and I certainly don't know how to go about getting my stuff on there.

However, I have now updated the page with a note at the top advising that I do still support and that I would be happy to reply to message, new threads on the topic, or to posts here.


I don't get why you made the Drake Warden's requirements steeper. That's a real turn-off, especially because there are some good archetypes that replace Favored Terrain (Infiltrator specifically) but you can't use that archetype with Drake Warden under your rules.

As another example, some players might choose to replace spellcasting with Skirmisher (Ranger is pretty MAD), but you've changed one of the Drake Warden's bonuses to a spellcasting one.

Other than these points, I think your work here is fantastic. So, I'm using the original Drake Warden requirements, but your Drake Companion improvements. I don't think this is OP at all considering what a full progression casters can do.


My reasoning for upping the cost is because the ranger's animal companion is more limited than other classes, and so the drake is a larger improvement. And the original drake warden took away so little only because it utterly ruined the already weak drake by taking away powers and size increases. In my opinion, a little more trade off was called for.

That said, I will admit, I didn't really weigh the effect it has on stacking archetypes, I was focused on balancing the archetype itself. And when weighing balance, I do try to err on the side of caution, both because it does less harm and because it is too easy go in the opposite direction by accident.

But hey, it's all homebrew, if you want to change it, be my guest. I'm just happy to hear you like it.

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