Request for help with dragon disciple


Hello guys

I want to play a dragon-flavored character and I was thinking either oracle (dragon) or sorcerer into Dragon Disciple.

I couldn't find too much info into a good dragon oracle build so I tried scrapping around with dragon disciple.

My ultimate like would be to progress into form of the Dragon (1,2 and finally 3) but that wont happen for a long time, so I'm ok with building up to this slowly. Like playing with natural weapons(claws and bite maybe?) but not necessarily.

I would also fancy the idea to transition from a caster to a dragon as well.

I thought about adding eldritch heritage, improved eldritch heritage, greater eldritch heritage(orc) as a way to pump even further my strength as I'm transitioning to dragon form. The prob is that DD will only get me to form of the dragon 2 and I need to get high enough sorcerer level for form of the dragon 3.

Therefore I'm trying to patch the situation with prestigious spellcaster feats etc.

Aaaaaaaaany thoughts on how to play this or build this or correct this would be highly appreciated and thank you in advance

The only way into Dragon Discipline using the Oracle is to be a Kobold with the Scaled Disciple feat... to my knowledge.

If you just want to do dragon stuff, but don't necessarily need spellcasting, the Dragonblood Shifter or Dragonblood Chymist may fit the bill.

Silver Crusade

The Dragon Disciple makes an effective high-strength melee character. A 3/4 BAB class works better than a 1/2 BAB class for this purpose.

FWIW, I played a Half-orc Bard 8/Dragon Disciple X (18 starting strength), which worked pretty well.

I feel like dragon bloodrager > other options for dragon disciple.

One option that's rarely thought of is spell specialist archanist. It's nice because the stat boost to inteligence is a boost to your primary casting stat. Also it give you mostly prepared casting as well which can be very nice.

Other interesting options include Bloodrager or skald for more martially inclined options, both allowing casting in medium armor without spell failure. Eldritch Scion magus is also a good option for that path.

Another option that may be forgotten is let line witch. It's not the best choice probably, but if you pick hexes that don't require or allow saves, it can be a decent choice. The mix of spells on the witches list are generally not the best at anything (except debuffing) but you do get an interesting mix of options.

PCScipio wrote:

The Dragon Disciple makes an effective high-strength melee character. A 3/4 BAB class works better than a 1/2 BAB class for this purpose.

FWIW, I played a Half-orc Bard 8/Dragon Disciple X (18 starting strength), which worked pretty well.

I thought the sorcerer would make up for that with spells.

My biggest need is for the character to feel as dragon-y as possible, culminating in using dragon attacks(claws breath bite etc) but also effective.

I'm not hell bent on going dragon disciple and would be greatly satisfied with any class/build that would help with the above idea.

If form of the dragon III is required but dragon disciple won't get you there, what level limit are you looking at exactly? Sorcerer 9 / DD 10 does get 8th level spells. Nothing's going to get FotD3 earlier than 15th level.

There's a draconic druid archetype which can get earlier draconic forms via wild shape (with the duration that implies) and any druid can cast shapechange at 17th level to get FotD3. It also gets a drake companion for good or ill.

Shadow Lodge

baggageboy wrote:
One option that's rarely thought of is spell specialist archanist. It's nice because the stat boost to inteligence is a boost to your primary casting stat. Also it give you mostly prepared casting as well which can be very nice.

I did this! I was Transmutation focus and did decently as a frontliner. Fun time.

Silver Crusade

If you want to fight in melee with claws, bite etc, then you probably want to start as a Bloodrager.

Think about the Dragon Disciple from a design point of view. Over 10 levels you get the following: D12 HP is fantastic, Int+2 Skills is bad, 3/4ths bab progression is okay, 7 spell casting levels is access to between 3-4th level spells. If you spend 4 feats you can instead have 10 levels of spellcasting and that gets you a lot more bang for your buck, at the cost of nearly 1/2 your feats during your career. However, Dragon Disciple is chained to another 10 levels outside the class and that means you only have half your progression there. So there are two main "paths" you can take with your Dragon Disciple.

1 - 9th level Spellcaster: At level 20 you end up with 12/7 BAB, 8th level spellcasting unless you spend at least 2 feats on adding more caster levels to your Dragon Disciple progression (Favored Prestige Class, Prestigious Spell caster) , and 132.5 average total HP before adding or subtracting your Con mod (6 base, 65 from DD, 31.5 from 9th level arcane spellcaster class, +20 from a con boost, +10 FCB).

At this point you have access to devastating spells, but you are fairly week when it comes to combat. Low HP from all that time spent being a sorcerer hurts, lower BAB than a cleric, and you'll be relying on spending several rounds buffing yourself before combat.

2 - The 6th Level Spellcaster: At 20th level you end up with 14/9 BAB and 6th level spellcasting, 10 more HP than the 9th level spellcaster on average, usually better skills too. You miss out on whatever late game shenanigans the 6th level spellcasting class used to compensate for its lack of full BAB or full spellcasting but get the first 10 levels of fun abilities at your disposal. Bard gets you some songs, Magus gets you spell combat (hilariously fun though extremely expensive to use with a full attack as a dragon [you need to select Natural Spell Arcana 4 times in order to land bite, claw, wing and tail]), Questioner gets you inspiration, Magical Child and Summoner get you what amounts to a better familiar late game, and Skald gets you a different set of bardic songs along with one use of Spell Kenning per day.

The advantage to going this route is that sixth level spellcasters have better base stats and interesting abilities as they level up (unlike 9th level casters whose power is built solely upon their spell casting) but you sacrifice 10 levels of this power for Dragon Powers instead. There are advantages and disadvantages to that depending on the specific class you choose. Mechanically, Dragon Disciple boils down to an archetype that replaces all abilties gained after level 10 with early access to Dragon Disciple goodies from level 6 onward in exchange for the last five levels of your career only giving you abilities a normal version of the class would have gained 10 levels ago.

3 - The Dip: At 20th level your stats will be weird depending on what you dip into. All you need to get into Dragon Disciple is a single level of an arcane spellcasting class with spontaneous casting. This means you could spend 9 levels in an entirely different class, or mix and match levels as you wish. While this cuts your spellcasting down to 4th level spellcasting, your BAB could be as high as 16/11/6. If you invest three feats into the build (Favored Prestige Class, Prestigious Spell caster x2) this increases to 5th level spellcasting

If you invest more into your spellcasting, 3 levels into the Sorcerer Dip, and all four feats (Favored Prestige Class, Prestigious Spell caster x3) then instead you can have up to BAB 15/10/5 and 6th level spellcasting. This is a well balanced (if a bit lopsided) approach to playing as a Dragon Disciple as it gets you the same stats as a regular 3/4ths BAB + 6th level spellcasting class with the Dragon Disciple class abilities replacing the regular high level abilities from such classes. In order to get there, you need to invest 9 levels into a full BAB class but between Scaled Fist Monk, any flavor of Paladin/AntiPaladin, Fighters, and Calm Stance Unchained Barbarian you can do a lot of good with full BAB. Especially when you have more HP and much higher saves as a result.


Personally, I prefer the dip because it fights a lot better in melee combat which is sort of the point of morphing into a dragon. Three extra BAB and some extra class features is a lot to pay especially when 9th level spells are on the line. However, remember that you can only take one action every turn. If you go full spellcaster into Dragon Disciple you are likely going to be casting spells every turn instead of getting into people's faces and wrecking them. This build is stronger in the early and mid-games, but falls off a bit late and requires some tactical play when facing serious threats.

Of course, the Full Spellcasting Dragon Disciple given time to buff can be quite deadly too. They are weaker starting out than the dipping version, but once the game hits about level 12 they can start to get scary. Access to high level spell slots can do more than just let the caster spend their actions casting powerful spells, instead they can learn the Quicken Spell metamagic and spend a swift action every single round of combat casting lower level spells. This allows them to multitask, either casting multiple spells in the same round or buffing and full attacking in the same turn.

The 6th level spellcasting version works too, of course, and as I said the Eldritch Scion Magus is hysterical once you have it up and running. Otherwise, it pretty much boils down to an interesting archetype for those classes, nothing too mechanically special to discuss.

As far as a specific path into Dragon Disciple, figure out which of the three options above sound more fun to play. From there you can figure out what appeals to you more. Spell Specialist Arcanist, Sorcerer, Eldritch Scion Magus, Bloodrager, Summoner, Magical Child Vigilante, Bard, Skald, Leyline Guardian Witch, heck even the Questioner Investigator are all initial arcane spellcasters who could allow you to begin on the path to Dragonhood.

Lantern Lodge

I'm not going to get into specifics, but you might want to take a look at doing an Unchained Monk (Scaled Fist)/Sorceror/Dragon Disciple build.

A player in my group is doing one and it seems to be working ok.

Grand Lodge

I would go Arcane Duelist Bard myself. I don't mind not having the highest level spells, as long the martial ability is good enough, but that's just me

I would go pure martial, probably Slayer, with a dip into Eldritch Scrapper Sorcerer for Martial Flexibility...

Seething Hatred "that guy"...

PCScipio wrote:

The Dragon Disciple makes an effective high-strength melee character. A 3/4 BAB class works better than a 1/2 BAB class for this purpose.

FWIW, I played a Half-orc Bard 8/Dragon Disciple X (18 starting strength), which worked pretty well.

also do I really care about the BAB? since the point is to dragon form and fight with natural attacks/breaths

Each point of BAB is equal to 2 points of Strength you would otherwise need to reach the same attack bonus. The strength is better, since you get a damage bonus along with it.

Silver Crusade

The BAB matters when you want to hit with your natural attacks! You may come up against an enemy with 30 AC, for example. By the time you're 14th level, you can expect to occasionally encounter enemies with 36 or higher AC.

Grand Lodge

BAB still matters because base attack bonus is inherently lower than barbarians for instance. Outside of that, what PCScipio said

The BAB also progresses Power Attack, helps you qualify for feats, protects you against nasty combat maneuvers, and helps negate the downsides of Power Attacking, a must with any good natural attack build. While hasted you get 6 attacks in Dragon Form 2, at 12 BAB that is 48 extra damage per full attack if you land all your hits...which will be hard to do without a good bonus to your accuracy.

Not to mention all the nasty things enemies can do to lower your accuracy, sickened, shaken, ability damage, negative levels, etc

First of all, thank you all for your replies!

Secondly, it seems to me that for a melee in-your-face dragon disciple, the bloodrager would be the best alternative(correct me if I'm mistaken). The dragon form is delayed a lot comparatively but its still a strong progression till that level

I even liked the dragonblood shifter but his wild shape delay is too much for me to be honest. It feels like a wet noodle till that level.

Shadow Lodge

Low-BaB on my Arcanist is why I stacked as much Strength bonuses as I could. Made my Impact Greataxe nastier too.

If you are allowed to use VMC options, you can pick up VMC Magus (or just play an Eldritch Scion Magus) for the Accurate Strike magus arcana to make your attacks touch attacks for the round.

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