Drake Companion Build


Advice


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So I recently picked up Legacy of Dragons. I've always wanted to do some variation on the classic dragonrider, so this seemed perfect.

But the archetypes - and the drake itself - kinda seem a bit... well, useless. Scanning the forums gives me the same impression, lots of people (with a much better grasp of things than me) seem to think the same.

Is there any way to build a character like this that isn't a total drag on the party, particularly at early levels? I was mostly looking at the Cavalier and the Ranger, but I'm open to suggestions.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The ranger drake companion is startlingly bad, you'd be better to pretend it doesn't exist than to have to take it along and protect it, and the cavalier sacrifices most of their class abilities to get the drake companion. Either would be, as you say, a total drag on the party.

Druids and shamans have archetypes to get drake companions and as full casters losing much of their other class abilities isn't an unbearable cost. A shaman would have the easiest time buffing their drake (it's not an animal and you don't get share spells) so that'd be the way I'd go.

The actual drake is something you'd treat more as a familiar than an animal companion. They're not that big and tough for a long time but they do get skills and the ability to speak and manipulate wands. It looks like the earliest you could ride one would be 9th level if you're a small character, 13th if you're medium.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Perhaps a Shaman would be the best route, then - I quite like the idea of a more savage character anyway.

It's a shame that you can't even ride the thing until 13th level, though. Even 9th level is a drag, and then you have to be small. Seems weird that the whole point of an archetype doesn't actually kick in until the close to the end of most campaigns.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Shaman is doable mainly because you still have Shaman casting. Play one for flavour.

Please think of your fellow party members. Someone in my group plays a Drake Rider Cavalier and all he does is eat our healing resources. They are that bad. Maybe at level 18 they are okay, but still. They only become anywhere near okay after most APs finish. The worst.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, I'm not gonna play something that irritates everyone else. To be honest, I'm probably just going to scrap the idea completely - I mean, I'm inexperienced enough at PF to not really spot the great and awful rules generally. And even I think they look a bit rubbish.

I was hoping maybe someone had found a way to make them work, and preferably before most games are ending. Doesn't look like that's the case!


Apologies for dredging up a dead post, but I think I may have a sort-of solution.

Provided you don't mind mentally re-skinning things, I think the best work around is probably taking any class with an animal companion and going with the Roc - it's about the right shape and has the right attacks. If losing the drake special abilities hurt, you can always sub them in with Evolved Companion - there's your tail, and a ray of frost or something could be the breath weapon.

Silver Crusade

Are you allowed 3rd party books? If so Draconic Companion Handbook by Everyman Gaming has what your looking for.

Currently I'm running a game with a Halfling ranger mounted on his copper dragon. The dragon is more powerful then a animal companion. However it requires a feet. Then a 2nd feet for boon companion. I would say a flying mount is nice but their are down sides to it as well. Being a small character helps with the effectiveness of the Dragon.


Tend to avoid 3rd party, mostly on an opening-the-floodgates basis. But it's not a hard rule, and that does sound interesting.

Small characters are great for certain concepts, but less so for others. Depends on the character I have in mind generally - this one's pretty solidly an Ulfen warrior, and while a halfling/gnome who grew up in that society could make for a really cool concept, it's not this one.

Though one day I will absolutely rip off a Talenta dinosaur riding halfling. Those guys were fantastic.

Silver Crusade

I'm playing Skulls and Shackles. One of the players is a hunter with a brine dragon. Same thing the dragon is nice but not any more over powered then an animal companion. This is with the hunter opting for Eye for Talent with a +2 str. He the feet that advances them to large has a level 15 requirement on it.

Between the Halfling, and the Human the dragon is about equal in power. The advantage of being mounted is more about movement. This is critical at higher level. No so much so at low level.

The key is to stay away from the most powerful dragons. IE gold, silver, red they are way over powered compared to animal companions.

If you decide to go this route.
Ulfen Cavalier is my best suggestion if you don't want magic.
Ulfen Hunter, or Ranger is going to make the best over all character. Due to how many levels before it will take to get to large size. So you can ride the dragon companion.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You can get a Pseudodragon or Faerie Dragon as a Mauler Familiar, which means they can turn into medium sized creatures, which means you can ride them with Undersized Mount. They're not really all that big, but that means that they're able to go into more places; you just have to accept that you're riding a medium-sized dragon instead of a big beastly one.

Eldritch Guardian Fighter gets a familiar.

Any character can take Familiar Bond to get a familiar.

Any character with 13CHA can take Eldritch Heritage: Arcane Bloodline and get a familiar.

Shaman can't get Improved Familiar, unfortunately.

One level of Sohei Monk is enough to take Mounted Skirmisher without a prerequisite, and allows basic Flurry of Blows in mithral medium armor. So it can be a very strong boost to a mounted warrior character. Crossed with a Cleric, Warpriest, Oracle or Paladin it also opens up Crusader's Flurry to use other weapons for flurry of blows.


Man, I'm jealous that you're playing Skulls and Shackles. Really wanna play that one!

Ulfen Cavalier was my first thought, and it's still tempting. Their steed options are lacklustre though, and I'm not sure they get anything drake-shaped even on the Beast Rider archetype...

Current frontrunner is a Mad Dog barbarian, I think.

I was under the impression that improved familiars couldn't be maulers? Or at least that it's controversial. To be honest, I can't see my lot caring too much, given the investment.

I wasn't aware of those extra ways to get a familiar though - that opens up an awful lot of potential concepts. There's probably more interesting things to do with it than thug on a drake though, that familiar list is way interesting...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

For something drake-shaped, there are also regular familiars such as:

rhamphorhynchus

...which are flying non-dinosaur reptiles.

You could actually even consider some kind of Barbarian + Dragon Disciple build as a Drake-Rider. There are new feats that improve Prestige Class spellcasting, and a properly done Dragon Disciple is a scary-ass combatant. A Mauler Drake (Rhamphorhynchus) whose HP are based on a Barbarian/Disciple and who has buff spells from master could be a real beast.


The guy in my head definitely isn't a dragon disciple, but... dammit, I've always wanted to play one of them. I think some sort of Kellid barbarian one, too.

Had no idea you could do that build as a barbarian though. What would that look like?


Myself, I prefer going all-in with the casting; Barbarian 1/ Sorcerer 4/ Disciple. You only need one level of Barbarian to get solid Rage, and some Extra Rage means rounds/day are fine. You could also do it as Barbarian 4/ Sorcerer 1, or any combo in between; two levels of Scarred Rager lets you pull a rage-cycle kind of trick, so it can be really deadly. Anyhow, Rage + Dragon Disciple 4 grants +8STR, which is just mean. The BAB basically ends up as a 3/4BAB class if you take 4 Sorcerer, but you've got Dragon STR and easy spells to bump attack up, plus Rage.

Crossblooded Draconic/Arcane Sorcerer would let you take Arcane Bond for a familiar at level 1 (ditch claws), and then Dragon Resistances at 3. Dragon Disciple carries on your Bloodline powers, so both the bonus AC/resistance and familiar continue to level with you. Disciple grants you more AC itself as well. Disciple is a d12 hp class and you start with a level of Barbarian, so HP is big; and then you get more CON from Disciple at 10. Arcane Armor Training lets you wear a mithral Kikko, which combined with the growing pool of bonus Dragon AC makes you solidly armored without being too heavy on your mount.

The Sorcerer spellcasting opens up all kinds of combat buffs; Heroism is the all-day easy one, Blade Tutor's Spirit is another good combat buff for min/level, Haste is an option, and etc, etc.

Alternately, you can always just go for some kind of Fighter/Barbarian type character with Familiar Bond, or an Eldritch Guardian Fighter with a bit of Barbarian and Boon Companion; pure Barbarian would probably find Familiar Bond too feat-intense, but Fighter/Barbarian is typically a pretty great combo and very Ulfen anyhow.

What else... Ulfen Barbarian + Battle-Spirit Shaman gets a powerful spirit-familiar, gets good buffing spells, and eventually gets a really brutal Bane ability like an Inquisitor. In theory any class can get and ride a familiar with the right feats, but it's a lot of feats if your class doesn't grant one.

One big question is how you want this Ulfen to fight while mounted. Lance and Spirited Charge is feat-intensive and focused on mounted battle, but pretty good at single huge charge hits. Just wielding a sword/axe mounted is easy enough, and flexible if you dismount and fight with your drake instead of on it. With a one-level Sohei Monk dip, you can get the amazing Mounted Skirmisher feat without any prerequisites, plus a flurry of blows that works in armor, so you can basically do mounted-pounce-flurry to terrorize foes.


That's... really interesting, actually. I hadn't even considered a Barb/Sorc/Disciple, I mostly just tend to think of the Bloodrager as that these days.

I think there are sorta two choices, really - and they both seem like fun, so I might well do both eventually. I think some kind of switch hitter ranger might be a better choice than the mad dog, and would really scream Ulfen.

Barbarian 1/ Sorcerer 4/ Disciple is the more interesting choice - there's potential for all sorts of fluff there, given the linnorms and all. I haven't got a damned clue how I'd build it, never mind play it, but it's really setting off the ideas...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Actually, if you want something really odd and mean, you can make a Ley-Line Guardian Witch into a Dragon Disciple (since they get spontaneous arcane). What makes Witch interesting is that Strength Patron gets Divine Favor, which is a huge combat buff; so a Strength Patron Ley-Line Guardian/ Dragon Disciple ends up with Divine Favor, Heroism, and Dragon Strength. Witch/Disciple has a similar spell list, with some interesting differences. Ironskin is a big bonus to AC.

I was looking at a possible Witch/Disciple with Sohei instead of Barbarian, and it's very deadly stuff - Divine Favor is a bigger buff than Rage, and Sohei means bonus Mounted Skirmisher and 9-ring broadsword flurry of blows in armor. Basically, majorly buffed flurry-pounce as soon as your familiar gets big at 3.


...you are very bad for my desire to Build All The Characters, you know that?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Honestly, I've never thoug i could find a more useless archetype since the first worlder summoner archetype, but Drakes archetypes ares terribly lame and useless. To be honest, at that point, to build a rider on a dragon, you should simply go with a rough rider fighter archetype and tame a wyvern or a drakes or whatever dragon you can found and then ride it. It will be way more efficient.


avr wrote:

The ranger drake companion is startlingly bad, you'd be better to pretend it doesn't exist than to have to take it along and protect it, and the cavalier sacrifices most of their class abilities to get the drake companion. Either would be, as you say, a total drag on the party.

Druids and shamans have archetypes to get drake companions and as full casters losing much of their other class abilities isn't an unbearable cost. A shaman would have the easiest time buffing their drake (it's not an animal and you don't get share spells) so that'd be the way I'd go.

The actual drake is something you'd treat more as a familiar than an animal companion. They're not that big and tough for a long time but they do get skills and the ability to speak and manipulate wands. It looks like the earliest you could ride one would be 9th level if you're a small character, 13th if you're medium.

small character can ride at level 7 (mount ability of drake).

with the feat that allow mount your size.
retrain it later.


be ranger or cavalier .
take monstrous mount for a griffon.
ask a DM for a Drake that look like a griffon or settle with what you get.

it's >>> than the Drake mount


While it's not ideal you could take Leadership at 11th level and get a Dragonkin (Beastiary 5) as a cohort. They aren't quite as epic as a normal dragon, but you can fly on it.

Or ask your GM for a quest to find one. It literally is described as bonding with a rider. If you're starting at first level I would talk with the GM about letting you have the egg to start with and it only maturing when you reach a certain level. Size, abilities, and attacks could be toned down appropriately to make it workable if they are willing.


666bender wrote:
avr wrote:

The ranger drake companion is startlingly bad, you'd be better to pretend it doesn't exist than to have to take it along and protect it, and the cavalier sacrifices most of their class abilities to get the drake companion. Either would be, as you say, a total drag on the party.

Druids and shamans have archetypes to get drake companions and as full casters losing much of their other class abilities isn't an unbearable cost. A shaman would have the easiest time buffing their drake (it's not an animal and you don't get share spells) so that'd be the way I'd go.

The actual drake is something you'd treat more as a familiar than an animal companion. They're not that big and tough for a long time but they do get skills and the ability to speak and manipulate wands. It looks like the earliest you could ride one would be 9th level if you're a small character, 13th if you're medium.

small character can ride at level 7 (mount ability of drake).

with the feat that allow mount your size.
retrain it later.

The drake mount ability requires that their rider be at least one size category smaller; it's the drake insisting I think, not a physical limitation.

Even without that a 12 Str small quadruped has pretty tight limitations on encumberance. A saddle, a halfling cavalier and their weapons and armor, and maybe a handy haversack will encumber such a drake.

Liberty's Edge

Another option these days is to take any unrestricted Animal Companion class, get a flying mount, and add the Draconic Archetype to it.

A Roc actually gives you three natural attacks, a Large Size mount with Str 22+ at 7th, and a good fly speed, so a little re-flavoring nets you a solid draconic mount (or at least a pretty wyvern-looking bird).

For something even easier to flavor you could grab a Pteranodon or Quezacoatlus.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Drake Companion Build All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.