I'm not very good at assessing balance, but it seems very cool and I'm seriously thinking about adding it into the list of allowed races/classes of my next campaign.
That's good to hear. :-) I was a big fan of monstrous classes in 3rd Edition, and would like to add more. Given the absence of other racial features, do you think fly 3 is too good for 1st-level?
Well, it is considered that PCs don't have access to reliable fly on heroic tier. But it seems it me fly 3 is not that much of disbalance. As for me I'm ok with giving to my players.
As a note in case I forgot/overlooked something, every AC attack is supposed to have either a +3 or +2 to attacks in order to boost accuracy (tail only gets a +2 because it deals more damage). Scales are supposed to give the dragon a defender-esque AC. If you want to use this "beta" version, just make sure that dragon players at LEAST get proper bonuses in order to maintain feasibility.
I'm going to be Brutally Honest here. It's boring. Here's my thoughts:The marking mechanic is dull. It's a bit like a cross between the fighter and the warden, but it has nothing that makes it stand out as original. Why not go with a defender's aura (like the essentials defenders) and then allow him to spit fire or make another dragon-theme special attack when people violate his aura?There aren't enough options. Even the Essentials classes have two "paths" for each character class. Summer Druid or Spring Druid. Sword Knight or Hammer Knight. Feylock or Starlock. You get the point. Your dragon class only has one, and I think that's a major drawback. Here's an idea: have two subtypes, a Flamestrike Dragon and a Brutal Dragon. Both are defenders, but the Flamestrike leans towards controller, with more breath weapon attacks while the Brutal Dragon gets higher damage output, and leans towards striker. In fact, you could tie this into the marking mechanic - maybe the brutal dragon gets a melee type response to people violating his mark, while the flamestriker gets the ranged flame spit or something. I hope I'm not being too harsh here. you can do a lot with this concept, but as it stands, it's not really interesting enough.
Honest is good; I wanna know what people like/don't like.The marking mechanic gave me some issues. Having it "switch on" like a defender's aura sounds like a good idea, though I'm not sure about spitting fire all the time (especially since wyrmlings do not have a recharging breath weapon, which is what this is based off of). Otherwise, he can use bite (though I was considering allowing tail slap as well).The lack of options is because I'm basically trying to provide a class that lets you do what a dragon does, and there weren't too many abilities to go with. Other attack options involved a pouncing take-down attack, rending claws, a bite attack with a nice slam (bite and throw, essentially), flyby attack, etc. Some of these I was reserving for a higher level.A good comparison is the vampire, which lets you make a grand total of three decisions (one per tier).The dragon is currently a defender with some controller features (area-effect attacks, forced movement, difficult terrain utility, area-effect marking, etc). As another option, I could see providing some other options for encounter attacks to make it more of a high-damage output. The trick is making them different enough from other options.I don't think you're being too harsh; this is the type of criticism that I wish I got more of for the other donation-ware articles we've published. :-)
and i quote "I don't think you're being too harsh; this is the type of criticism that I wish I got more of for the other donation-ware articles we've published. :-)"
I've actually thought about this quite a bit. My idea would be to have a base race for each type of dragon and then have a class of each role that has "true dragon" as a prereq. I'd start small and have class features grow the dragon until they are huge at epic tier. As for magic item, my thought was to allow dragons to consume precious metals and residuum to enchant their body to replace normal items. (this also explains why dragons have hoards, they are building up to buys the next level). By getting special components and the proper amount of gold/residuum, they can enchant themselves with many armor/implement/weapon/neck slot enchantments. For the flight, I had starting dragons have speed 4, but they needed to land at the end of every turn during heroic tier. I had ideas for feats and class abilities. If you're willing to collaborate, please let me know.
The problem with turning a monster into a class is that most monsters just do not have enough variety to give them flexibility. Ultimately the vampire has a small set of powers that basically just scales by level.With the dragon I figured that it should be able to bite, claw, whack you with its tail, use its wings in some manner, and breath fire. To help fill in the gaps, I tried to get creative with how it might use its tail, wings, and give it what essentially amounts to "combo" attacks.Is it limited? Yes. Does it sufficiently do what a dragon does to make it recognizable as such? Yes. Is it on par with other defenders? I like to think so. Rather than make a bunch of dragon-classes that you can plug a dragon color/metal into, I would rather focus on making distinct classes that evoke that particular dragon. I suppose you could go with a foundation and just add in powers to help make the dragon into something else; for example, at level one you could take a power that deals lightning damage and has a range of 10, effectively giving you a blue dragon's attack.
Ah, but dragonkind is a flexible concept. There are the physical attributes: power, flight, claws/teeth, size. There are magical attributes: elemental breath, spells, hidden knowledge. There are social attributes: greed, honor, manipulation. By combining these different concepts in different ways you can easily cover multiple classes of dragons. Looking at the moster listing reflects this, some dragons are soldier, others are artillery, others are lurkers and there are some brutes in there too. Having multiple types of dragon opens up a campaign with multiple dragon characters - sort of like the old council of wyrms or a newer one, perhaps inspired by Eberron's continent of Argonessen. Few players would want to participate in a campaign where the only difference would be the element of their breath weapon.For example: My controller idea would have an at-will breath attack (the damage type would be based on their race). The encounter options would give them different options for their breath. They would also have the ability to multiclass in arcane classes without limit (like the bard, they'd have a feat to let them use charisma for multi-class powers). This plays up the connections between dragons and magic. For a leader, I would play up the manipulative side of dragons. The healing and benefits they granted to their allies would be contingent on doing what the dragon wanted. For example, the ally would get to spend a healing surge with bonuses if they attacked the target that the leader specified.
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